Understanding the Societal Impacts of ICT: Methodologies and indicators

In 2014, UN-Habitat and Ericsson entered into a collaboration to assess the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in influencing the prosperity of towns and cities globally. This collaboration will develop over 3 years and be done through pilot projects, concept explorations and case study assessments focused around the impact of ICT.

To establish the direction of the research collaboration an expert group meeting was held in connection to New Cities Summit 2014, in Dallas June 17-19. Main outcomes included insights on the major challenges facing cities in the 21st century, opportunities for how these urban challenges can be met through the use of ICT and which indicators should be used to evaluate impacts of ICT on the prosperity of cities.

This ICT4S workshop will be the second expert group workshop with the aim to build on outcomes and provide complimentary insights on the societal impacts of ICT. Outcomes of both workshops will provide input to the research baseline for the collaboration, including policy approaches and the selection of specific focus areas and pilot projects. It is also expected to provide insights that could be fed back into ongoing ICT related city indicator development initiatives such as that of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

This workshop strives to identify indicators for evaluating and measuring impacts on city prosperity focusing on the impact dimensions: quality of life, environmental sustainability, and equity and social inclusion as defined by UN-Habitat, for specific ICT solution areas.

A brief background on the collaboration is provided below. Additional material will be send to participants prior to the workshop.


Workshop format

The workshop will combine group discussions and individual contributions tapping into participants’ experiences and field of expertise. UN-Habitat will be contributing to the workshop over videoconference from Nairobi; Kenya.



UN-Habitat and Ericsson’s collaboration was born out of the mutual understanding of the value that ICT can offer in the advancement of cities. UN-Habitat´s City Prosperity Initiative and related City Prosperity Index looks at cities from a holistic and broad perspective, highlighting dimensions such as equity and social inclusion, environmental sustainability, quality of life, governance, infrastructure, and productivity. Ericsson’s vision of a Networked Society envisions a future where ICTs and connectivity present new opportunities to empower people, businesses, and society. Ericsson has also developed a Networked Society City index to show the city development related to ICT maturity and the triple bottom line.

The research collaboration will explore concrete examples of how ICTs can function as drivers of urban prosperity, building on city projects and city pilots to create tangible visualizations and proof of concepts while concretely showing the value for people and organizations. Focus will be placed on marginalized and excluded groups in small and medium cities of the Global South. The research also aims at developing frameworks for evaluating the impacts of ICTs on the sustainability or prosperity of cities, both from a top-down perspective as in UN-Habitat’s City Prosperity Index and Ericsson’s Networked Society City Index, as well as from a bottom-up perspective assessing specific ICT contributions.

The expected accomplishments include increased understanding of the roles that ICTs can play in a more holistic view of urban development, and how ICTs can support and connect the different dimensions of prosperity. The ultimate outcome of the research collaboration is to assist decision makers to design clear policies and implement tools for using ICT to supporting the sustainable development of society. The work will inform global processes, such as the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and The Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) which will take place in 2016.

Time and date: Wednesday 27 August, half day AM

Room C08 Clarion Hotel

Organizer: Ericsson

Contact: craig.donovan@ericsson.com

Price: Free