What is the role of artificial intelligence in urban development and what are its implications for cohesion?

On 27 September, Julie Pellegrin, project leader, and Louis Colnot, policy analyst from the Centre for Industrial Studies (CSIL) made a presentation of the study “Artificial Intelligence and Urban Development”.

Artificial intelligence (AI), signifying human-like cognitive capabilities as performed by machines, is expected to bring about deep transformations in peoples’ daily lives and in the way governments operate. High expectations have been placed on AI in an urban context. While there are debates around the pros and cons of AI in general, there is less discussion of the specific impact of AI on cohesion within and between urban areas.

The presented study explores the state of available knowledge regarding the role of AI within urban development, its potential advantages and risks, and the foreseeable implications for socio-economic and territorial cohesion. It argues that expectations surrounding AI are high, especially in the context of smart-city initiatives, but that the actual benefits are yet to be fully assessed. To avoid potential risks, local and urban authorities need to fulfil a series of conditions that are inherently challenging. The EU’s AI Policy and its Cohesion Policy, in particular, may help, but they need to address the territorial dimension of AI more explicitly.

Recommendations are addressed to the European Parliament (EP). In particular, the REGI Committee should call on the Commission and Member States so that they ensure that Cohesion Policy programming documents explicitly integrate AI-related considerations for smart cities. The EP could also contribute to the coordination of the different EU initiatives and to the consolidation of a knowledge base concerning the benefits and risks of AI for urban development. Finally, the EP has a major role to play in increasing awareness among citizens.

After the presentation, members highlighted the issue of digital divide and the need for developing the appropriate enabling technology, such as 5G, in a territorially balanced way. The Chair of the REGI-committee, Younous Omarjee, thanked the author of the study and underlined the relevance of the study’s recommendation for the work of the REGI Committee, in particular the follow-up of the programming exercise in the current 2021-2027 period.

If you want to learn more about the conclusions and recommendations of the study, have a look at the block below.


Watch the video of the event (with multilingual interpretation):

Further reading: Artificial Intelligence and Urban Development





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