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City Possible: Mastercard Launches Global Network for Urban Co-Development

As urban leaders from around the world gather for Smart City Expo World Congress this week in Barcelona, Mastercard today launched a unique global network for urban co-development. As part of its City Possible program, Mastercard is connecting cities with academia and businesses to identify common challenges that can be best addressed through collaboration.

Sixteen cities are becoming founding members of the global City Possible network – representing a diverse mix of geography and size: Athens, Aurora, IL, Baltimore, Dubai, Dublin, Helsinki, Honolulu, Kansas City, Melbourne, Prague, San Diego, and Altamonte Springs, FL, as well as the Greater Sydney communities of Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool, and Wollondilly. The network is open for additional cities to join.

“The superpower of cities is their freedom to collaborate – allowing them to build on each other’s progress”, says Miguel Gamiño, who heads up global city partnerships for Mastercard. “By bringing together city leaders from across the globe, City Possible promotes the sharing of ideas and best practices – aimed at advancing more connected and inclusive urban communities. What unites all our public, private and academic partners is their commitment to make technology work for all people, and finding scalable solutions for universal needs.”

As a key component of City Possible, Mastercard is partnering with the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University (TECH) which will host a series of programs to foster a regular learning exchange among global city leaders. The first convening will take place this week at Smart City Expo in Barcelona and focus on urban planning, mobility services and data insights. Participants will also have access to an online community where they can continue the dialogue with their peers.

“As urban areas around the world continue to grow, cities face common issues – how to provide a healthy environment, safety, affordability and economic opportunity for their communities”, says Prof. David S. Ricketts, fellow at TECH. “Faced with limited resources and competing priorities, city leaders look for solutions that have been tested elsewhere. Through our learning exchanges, we want to equip CIOs and other urban leaders to better navigate this dynamic environment.”

When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015, they called for “making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. In order to accelerate local level delivery of the SDGs, the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme will work with City Possible. Through the collaboration with Mastercard, participating cities can access the City Possible network to identify shared challenges and seek sustainable business models to address them.

“Knowledge sharing and robust relationship building between the private sector, civil society, and local and territorial governments is vital for achieving the SDGs -- and this mind-set sits at the heart of our Local 2030 initiative”, comments Michael Nolan, director of the Global Compact Cities Programme. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to work with Mastercard through their City Possible program to build the capacity of our city partners to create transformative projects that can attract investment and advance local delivery of the Global Goals.”

Once key challenges that are shared by cities across the globe have been identified, City Possible will provide a framework for co-creating, testing and scaling solutions – connecting cities with private sector players that are equally committed to people-centered design. By closely collaborating with companies such as Microsoft, HERE Technologies and now also IDEMIA, Mastercard works to address urban challenges in a more holistic way.

“As the global leader in Augmented Identity, IDEMIA has the ambition to provide a secure environment enabling citizens and consumers alike to perform their daily critical activities such as pay, connect, travel and vote in the physical as well as digital space”, comments Nathalie Oestmann, SVP Global Innovation Strategy for Financial Institutions activities at IDEMIA. “We look forward to building on our long-standing relationship with Mastercard in order to shape future banking and payment experiences in an increasingly urbanized world.”

One of the areas that exemplifies the advantages of city-to-city collaboration is public transit. After Mastercard had helped Transport for London (TfL) to transform its ticketing system by introducing contactless technology in 2014, cities around the world including Sydney, Singapore, Vancouver, Boston and New York have adopted or embraced solutions that are using the same global standard. Other areas where cities and people could benefit from greater efficiency and better, more inclusive experiences include the disbursement of social benefits and a unified access to municipal services.

City quotes:

Georgios Kaminis, Mayor, Athens:
“Athens has acquired deep expertise in public-private partnerships and we are extremely excited to join the City Possible program. Mastercard is a key partner and we are already working closely to enhance the city’s tourism and technology sector. By joining this global initiative we continue to work towards developing smart city solutions. Sharing best practices and knowledge with other cities is the best way moving forward.”

Mayor Richard C. Irvin, Aurora, IL:
“The City of Aurora is honored to collaborate with private and public innovators to help solve a variety of challenges from public safety, economic development and digital equality through the use of smart technology. Successful innovation is greater than just technology alone. It requires the ability to generate ideas from across the board and the proven capacity to implement them for improved City services.”

Mayor Catherine E. Pugh, Baltimore:
“As one of the United States’ oldest urban cities, we strive daily to provide a modern, safe and equitable environment for our residents and visitors. As such, we are honored to serve as a founding member of Mastercard’s City Possible initiative which will not only give us the unique opportunity to collaborate with other cities and discuss our common challenges but to actually identify possible solutions that can be scaled and implemented worldwide.”

Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director General, Smart Dubai & CEO, Dubai Data Establishment:
“The core of Smart Cities is built on the premise of knowledge and experience sharing. Joining Mastercard’s City Possible network opens a global array of use cases Dubai can learn from and contribute to. We have already begun working on our first collaborative project with Mastercard, where we are analyzing their data to provide insights on current and future performance levels of Dubai’s economy. Through the network we look forward to working on several cross-border projects with cities across the globe.”

Jamie Cudden, Smart City Lead, Dublin City Council:
“We are delighted that Dublin is a founding member of Mastercard’s City Possible initiative. We strongly believe that successful cities of the future will be the ones that embrace a shared collaboration model and work alongside industry, academia and entrepreneurs to solve city challenges, improve service delivery while also delivering the best outcomes for its citizens.”

Mayor Jan Vapaavuori, Helsinki:
“As the power of cities in the global arena is growing so does the responsibility we share. We are proud to be a founding member of City Possible and explore this new approach to solving urban challenges together with global cities and the private sector.”

Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu:
“Honolulu is excited and honored to be part of City Possible. Our city sits in the most isolated chain of islands on the planet, but our vibrant population has tapped new technologies to both stay connected and innovate on the world stage. City Possible will help us shape our preferred future and bring to life a powerful vision for both residents and our 10 million annual visitors alike. Honolulu is proud to host the 2019 US Conference of Mayors, where government and global technology leadership gather on an annual basis to explore cities of the future. Our partnership with Mastercard and City Possible will be a highlight of the mayors’ Honolulu experience.”

Mayor Sly James, Kansas City:
“Kansas City is proud to partner with Mastercard and Civic Leaders from around the world to develop Smart and sustainable solutions to chronic problems that all mayors face: education, economic opportunity and civic efficiency. ‘Smart Cities’ solutions and programs are not about technology – they are about people, and how we can use technology as a tool to improve the quality of life for our residents and visitors. We are excited to be part of the global network of City Possible communities that are collaborating to use tech and policy as complementary tools to establish 21st Century Communities for 21st Century Citizens.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp, City of Melbourne:
“As a city fuelled by a burgeoning knowledge economy, Melbourne is incredibly excited to embrace new opportunities and connect with the world through the City Possible program. Through our Smart City office we’re keen to share the data, knowledge and insights we’ve gathered while we explore and adopt innovative solutions being used globally to solve some of the major challenges faced by growing cities in the 21st century.”

Michal Fiser, Chairman of the Board, Operator ICT, Prague:
“Prague has the ambition to become one of the world leaders in the field of collection and analysis of city data. We believe that data will be essential for the cities of the future. The city of Prague looks forward to joining the City Possible program to tap into best practices among world cities and strengthen our urban economy based on knowledge and innovations.”

Frank Martz, City Manager, City of Altamonte Springs, FL:
"Altamonte Springs is a forward-thinking City with a long history of public-private partnerships including transit and real estate partnerships, and many first-of-their-kind water and wastewater innovation projects. Innovation and sustainability are core values for us. We know that working together with leading-edge private sector partners can create a formidable team. Mastercard understands that the best solutions for communities require the public and private sectors meshing together with purpose! We are honored to be a Global Founding member with Mastercard on their City Possible program.”

Mayor Cr George Brticevic, Campbelltown:
“Our city’s population is expected to double over the next 20 years and we are already taking steps to ensure we are ready to accommodate the needs of our growing community including planning for jobs, transport, housing and digital inclusion. Collaborating with other cities will enable Campbelltown to learn from their experiences, share our own expertise and benefit from the economies of scale that come with sharing solutions to the challenges faced in all countries across an increasingly urbanized world.”

Mayor Khal Asfour, City of Canterbury Bankstown:
“Canterbury-Bankstown is the largest Council in NSW by population, and we’re expected to have 500,000 residents by 2036. We’re already using technology infrastructure, community engagement and connectivity to ensure Canterbury-Bankstown is a great place to live, work and play now and in the future. But, councils cannot do everything – which is why partnerships like City Possible are so important. By breaking down silos and building relationships, we can make a far greater impact than working in isolation.”

Mayor Wendy Waller, Liverpool:
“We’re extremely excited to be working with Mastercard on City Possible and look forward to working together on ways to encourage people to stay in the city for longer. Liverpool is working strategically to build a vibrant city with an 18-hour economy, and we recognize that collaborative partnerships such as the one we are about to enter into with Mastercard offer us opportunities to deliver on that promise.”

Mayor Judith Hannan, Wollondilly:
“Wollondilly is a dynamic shire, always seeking new ideas and ways to strengthen our local community. The digital age, and the advent of smart technology, is a great tide of opportunity and challenge.”

From November 13 - 15, Mastercard will be participating in Smart City Expo World Congress, an annual global gathering of urban and business leaders. At the event, Mastercard invites delegates to experience City Possible through a series of talks and demos.

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE:MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

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