On Monday this week I attended the World Bank’s “Rethinking Cities” Symposium in Barcelona and participated in discussions concerning the contributions technology could make to two challenges: improving social and physical mobility in cities; and the encouragement of change to more sustainable behaviours by including “externalities” (such as social and environmental costs) in the prices of goods and services.
Discussions at the Symposium explored how sustainable choices could be made available in a way that appeals to the motivations of individuals and communities; we examined several ways to create positive and negative incentives through pricing; but also examples of simply “removing the barriers” to making such choices.
The more I thought about those discussions, the more I realised that the underlying theme was "openess" or transparency: making good quality information available to us can have a powerful impact on the choices that we make. When we are well informed, we make good decisions.
I wrote an article on my blog yesterday describing the discussions at the Symposium in Barcelona, and giving some examples of cities that have taken such "open" approaches to information. I hope it's an interesting contribution to this community: