Development begins in the communities

“Development begins locally and very centrally in the municipalities,” said Philipp Keil at the opening of the 7th Stuttgart Forum for Development (SFE). In his speech, the Executive Board of the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) emphasized the need for local responses to the global responsibility that we all have.

The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing us to rethink and find answers to the question of where we want to develop. “With this year’s Stuttgart Forum for Development, we want to provide impetus and find new ways in which development policy can be understood in municipalities in the future. Because local development policy means making communities suitable for grandchildren.”

In her lecture, Prof. Chirine Etezadzadeh dealt intensively with the municipalities of the future. She noted that there is “a mood of optimism that we must take advantage of” around the world. We would have the chance to realign our economy and return production to the regions and municipalities. This would also contribute to greater resilience in communities. “We need resilient cities, we need a culture of resilience that is based on social cohesion,” said Etezadzadeh. The prerequisite for this is sustainability: “There is no sustainability without resilience and no resilience without sustainability.”

A key prerequisite for this is a smart infrastructure; However, according to Etezadzadeh, digitalization should not lead to technical dominance. Rather, digital consumer education and digital inclusion of all age groups is a task for municipalities. This citizen orientation is important because this is the only way the Smart City of the future can succeed. Given the amount of data needed for a smart city, she demanded: “In Germany, we have to ensure that people are self-determined and independently decide how their data is handled.” For this, an Ethics Council for Artificial Intelligence is needed.

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