Future Cities - Catapult
buenos aires, london, melbourne, new york, sao paulo, seoul, tel aviv, tokyo, toronto, Stories
If I was Mayor of my CITIE If I was Mayor of my CITIE

In this first of a series of blogs, different members of the team will set out their Fantasy CITIE drawing on the many animated discussions we’ve had during the development of this project. We’ll present across each of the nine policy roles, our own favourite initiatives that we would implement if we were Mayor of our own city.

The Fantasy CITIE profile below is drawn from the scores for each city across the nine policy roles. The examples highlighted below are in some cases, just one of the metrics measured under each of the policy roles.


Tokyo’s approach to regulating the short-term lets market is quite unique in that it goes beyond most city initiatives. By designating special zones in Tokyo and Osaka near where the 2020 Olympics will be held, it is using this disruption to solve a one-off city challenge, housing 20 million visitors for a few weeks, without the need to build white elephant hotels.


New York City’s advocacy work is second to none. There is not one initiative, but many. It doesn’t manifest itself at one level but at many. From the ‘Made in NY’ brand, to the ‘Digital.NYC’ local online hub and the customer facing ‘World to NYC’, this is a city that truly believes in the value its tech community can bring to the city and is proud to support it.


São Paulo has reformed its procurement procedures to make it easier for SMEs to win public sector contracts. Acknowledging that it’s hard for them to compete on price alone, it gives them preferential treatment as long as their bid price is no more than 10% higher than non-SME bidders.



Toronto self-defines its role as Host by three characteristics;

  1. To facilitate between investors and organisations
  2. To catalyse the ecosystem by identifying gaps and challenges and bringing people together
  3. To collaborate with businesses and partners, providing practical support to help new businesses

This is a beautifully simple summary of the key characteristics that should define every city’s approach in acting as a Host.


Whilst Buenos Aires generally performs quite poorly as an Investor, it has taken an interesting approach to investing in its local workforce. Rather than seek to develop its own curriculum, it has taken the approach pioneered by Code Academy, trialled it in initially 30 schools and is now planning to roll this out to all schools be the end of 2015. By drawing on this existing resource, the city has developed a low cost and scalable solution to developing digital and coding skills for students.


In 2015, Melbourne introduced the Free Tram Zone in the city centre. Coupled with free Wi-Fi, citizens are able to connect physically and digitally across the city. It sounds simple but being able to jump around the city to meet various people, and connect online in the moments in between makes an entrepreneur’s day that much more effective.



Seoul’s Innovation Bureau was one of the first to recognise the value of having a Chief Information Officer, and has used this leadership to push through a world leading e-governance information system infrastructure. This foundation has enabled it to extend the platform to engage citizens in the development of their public services.


Tel Aviv’s DigiTel service acts as the city’s personalised communications network. With a single digital citizen interface, tailored interactions with citizens and engagement in policy-making, it’s approach under-pinning its development is what sets it apart. Citizens are viewed as customers of the city with the aim being through DigiTel to provide the best possible digital experience of the city.


The Greater London Authority has launched the second version of its London Datastore which now contains over 850 datasets across 16 themes from employment to transparency. The GLA is now using this to work with the 13 London Boroughs to open up their datasets to allow for more localised products and services to be developed.