Urban Journalism Institute

What to expect in 2023?

Housing, Cities and Climate Change, and Localising the Sustainable Development Goals”, UN-Habitat has outlined the main priorities for 2023. Access to adequate housing for all remains the most urgent priority for cities, which should be included in national and international land-use strategies. Tackling climate change, with cities playing the central role as contributors to climate solutions, is another priority that needs urgent attention. Cities working with national governments and local communities can build more resilient settlements, creating safer communities with improved environmental, social, health, and economic conditions. Finally, localising the Sustainable Development Goals should gain significant attention.

Seoul, Republic of Korea
© Andre Greiffenstein

Other trends for 2023, in terms of local efforts, are connected to decarbonization and air quality efforts, people-centred infrastructure, and reduction of the digital divide, specially aiming to ensure a more participatory citizenship engaging youth and older persons.

City diplomacy will continue increasing its scope and influence in achieving sustainable development. In October 2022, Ambassador Nina Hachigian, former first Deputy Mayor for International Affairs for the City of Los Angeles, was appointed as the first-ever Special Representative for Subnational Diplomacy in the U.S. State Department. More national governments will follow on strengthening their engagement and collaboration with mayors and other local officials. Foreign policy through subnational diplomacy will gain space, as will the international engagement and activities of cities to progress on national and global agendas.   

Urban planning strategies will struggle to be as relevant as they should be at the global level, but all decisions taken in terms of territorial development will determine equality and inclusiveness of future structures. The year 2023 will see advances in the planning of new capitals such as Nusantara in Indonesia or the New Administrative Capital in Egypt. However, the “perpetual” questions such as informal settlements, where in some cases three and four generations of citizens have lived, are not in the political agendas. 

Misinformation and cybersecurity, including the spread of false information and the exploitation of personal data, will continue being a global risk affecting trust in governments. Digital rights for citizens and accessible and non-discriminatory digital environments will require more attention.

The first ever UN Water Conference will bring the attention to water-rights, but also to the Blue Economy as a vector for coastal cities or delta-cities to embark on.

Not yet familiar with ChatGPT?
Get ready for it. 

OpenAI launched ChatGPT (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) as a prototype on 30 November 2022. Since then, experts have been discussing positive and negative aspects of the application. Challenging ChatGPT with questions and tasks has been practically a family hobby for hundreds of users in the last weeks. The service is currently free to the public, and, as of the end of December 2022, over two million users have tested it. 

ChatGPT is a large language model chatbot trained with massive amounts of data from the internet and other public sources. OpenAI explains that they have trained a “model called ChatGPT, which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.” 

In January 2023, Microsoft, which was already a partner in the development of ChatGPT, announced a multiyear and multibillion-dollar investment with OpenAI to accelerate and democratize Artificial Intelligence as a new technology platform. 

It was difficult to fight the temptation not to ask ChatGPT about the global trends for local and regional governments in 2023. You can judge its answer yourself…

Global trends for local and regional governments

Written by ChatGPT (January 2023)

1. Increased use of digital technology: Local and regional governments globally will continue to invest in digital infrastructure and technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations and services. This includes the use of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data analytics, and blockchain technology. 

2. Greater focus on sustainability: Local and regional governments will continue to prioritize sustainability initiatives, especially those related to reducing emissions and improving resource efficiency. This includes the development of green infrastructure, renewable energy, and green buildings. 

3. Greater citizen engagement: Local and regional governments will seek to engage citizens more actively in decision-making processes and policy formulation. This includes utilizing digital tools such as open data and online platforms for civic participation. 

4. Increased emphasis on public safety: Local and regional governments will continue to prioritize increasing public safety, especially through the use of surveillance technology, predictive policing, and the recruitment of more police officers.  

5. Strengthening of regional alliances: To improve global competitiveness, local and regional governments will continue to build stronger alliances with other governments, businesses, and civil society organizations. This includes the formation of regional trade agreements and the promotion of regional economic integration.