Leena Ilmola-Sheppard is invited to speak at a panel discussion at the Budapest Eurasia Forum 2020. The forum is organized by Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the Central Bank of Hungary and is opened by H.E. Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary. 

Budapest © Roland Nagy | Dreamstime.com

The Budapest Eurasia Forum 2020 main theme is "Eurasian Cooperation in the Post-pandemic Era". It includes a high-level opening ceremony, followed by three professional panels. The panel topics recall the core areas of the Forum concept, such as geopolitics, multilateral cooperation, finance, economics, innovation, education, and connectivity.

Leena Ilmola-Sheppard contributes to the panel on "Smart cities for a healthy future? Innovation in urbanisation and the importance of digital literacy".

Smart cities for a healthy future? Innovation in urbanisation and the importance of digital literacy

It is fair to say that the global spread of COVID-19 has the most significant impact on big cities, where population density increases the possibility of virus transmission. Social distancing - one of the keywords of 2020 might get harder to guarantee in megacities, but is certainly not impossible. The need of decreasing people-to-people contacts highlighted the importance of technology in cities, known as smart solutions. Technological developments have proved to be essential in modern city management: the incorporation of ICT and cutting-edge technology in city planning and urban development has made a major contribution to efficiency, sustainability and welfare and as we observed in recent months, health as well.

The panel discusses the acceleration of smart city developments due to COVID-19 and possible implications for the future. But smart cities require a smart population too, one that is capable of adapting to the usage of cutting-edge technologies in everyday life. This leads to the need to modernise the educational system, partly to increase digital literacy and especially to provide highly trained professionals for the job market, who can create and implement solutions that will keep up with the latest trends.

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