Media Releases

Global cities gather in Toronto for summit and to launch the World Council on City Data

May 14, 2014

TORONTO, ON – The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Glob­al City Indi­ca­tors Facil­i­ty (GCIF) is wel­com­ing cities from around the world to the inau­gur­al Glob­al Cities Sum­mit in Toron­to, where the World Coun­cil on City Data (WCCD) will be launched on May 15th at 12:30 pm.

This new glob­al enti­ty will build an inter­na­tion­al plat­form for open, glob­al­ly com­pa­ra­ble and ISO stan­dard­ized data for par­tic­i­pat­ing cities from around the world.

The cre­ation of the WCCD is an evo­lu­tion of the last sev­en years of suc­cess­ful work for the GCIF in devel­op­ing glob­al­ly stan­dard­ized data for cities. The Council’s devel­op­ment has been spurred by the approval of the very first ISO Stan­dard on city met­rics, to be pub­lished as ISO 37120 on May 15, 2014 by the Inter­na­tion­al Orga­ni­za­tion for Stan­dard­iza­tion (ISO) Gene­va.

The Coun­cil will coor­di­nate all efforts on city data to ensure a con­sis­tent and com­pre­hen­sive plat­form for stan­dard­ized urban met­rics. It will act as a glob­al hub for cre­ative learn­ing part­ner­ships across cities, inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions, cor­po­rate part­ners, and acad­e­mia to fur­ther inno­va­tion, envi­sion alter­na­tive futures and build bet­ter and more liv­able cities.

“ISO37120 is a mile­stone for cities. The Cre­ation of the World Coun­cil on City Data is a piv­otal next step in build­ing a reli­able foun­da­tion of glob­al­ly stan­dard­ized data that will assist cities in build­ing core knowl­edge for city deci­sion-mak­ing, and enable com­par­a­tive insight and glob­al bench­mark­ing” said Pro­fes­sor Patri­cia McCar­ney, Direc­tor of the GCIF at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. “In a world where city data is explod­ing and big data is esca­lat­ing, we are now mov­ing for­ward in build­ing the WCCD as an open data plat­form on glob­al city met­rics.”

The Glob­al Cities Sum­mit is con­ven­ing glob­al lead­ers from the world’s cities, busi­ness­es, UN and oth­er inter­na­tion­al agen­cies, uni­ver­si­ties, plan­ning and design pro­fes­sion­als, on May 15th and 16th in Toron­to. The Sum­mit is the inau­gur­al meet­ing of the more than 255 GCIF mem­ber cities from 81 coun­tries. The event will be an oppor­tu­ni­ty for cities and their part­ners to learn, share and exchange expe­ri­ences across a wide spec­trum of big ideas and inno­v­a­tive solu­tions for cities under the theme: Get­ting on Track: Sus­tain­able & Inclu­sive Pros­per­i­ty for Cities.

The WCCD will be launched in Toron­to at 12:30 pm on May 15th, 2014 at the Glob­al Cities Sum­mit at the Sher­a­ton Cen­tre Down­town Hotel. The Coun­cil has invit­ed a select group of cities – includ­ing Shang­hai, Lon­don, Toron­to, Dubai, Haiphong, Amman, Makkah, Chica­go, Johan­nes­burg, Buenos Aires, Helsin­ki, Barcelona, Rot­ter­dam, Makati, Min­na and Bogo­ta – to come to Toron­to to help launch the WCCD and become Foun­da­tion Cities of the Coun­cil.

These cities, rep­re­sent­ed by senior del­e­ga­tions includ­ing the May­or of Makkah, Sau­di Ara­bia, are now arriv­ing in Toron­to to be part of this launch tomor­row.

Foun­da­tion Cities of the WCCD will help devel­op the vision and dri­ve the new Coun­cil agen­da for­ward togeth­er with oth­er part­ners: pri­vate, pub­lic and aca­d­e­m­ic. Foun­da­tion Cities will help define the man­date for the WCCD and devel­op the first five years of pro­gram­ming on city data, ana­lyt­ics, visu­al­iza­tion, pub­li­ca­tions, city awards and recog­ni­tions. The head­quar­ters of the WCCD will be locat­ed in Toron­to and the Coun­cil will host a plat­form for cities and will build a knowl­edge net­work for cities glob­al­ly.

“Here in Lon­don, we real­ly wel­come join­ing the WCCD,” said Andrew Collinge, Assis­tant Direc­tor of Intel­li­gence, Greater Lon­don Author­i­ty. “There has nev­er been a time where it’s more impor­tant to under­stand how we as a glob­al city com­pare with oth­er cities so we can learn from them and actu­al­ly use data to address chal­lenges that are fac­ing all of our cities.”

Lon­don May­or Boris John­son said London’s biggest chal­lenge is the boom in the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in Lon­don, with the city’s pop­u­la­tion pro­ject­ed to hit 10 mil­lion by 2030. Access to data from oth­er cities will be crit­i­cal to deal­ing with this growth.

“That’s a lot of peo­ple who will need jobs and homes and a quick and con­ve­nient way of get­ting from one to the oth­er,” he said.

Oth­er cities voiced their excite­ment at join­ing the WCCD.

The City of Barcelona is “very inter­est­ed in this ini­tia­tive, hav­ing been nom­i­nat­ed Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Inno­va­tion by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion,” says Manel San­romà, CIO, Barcelona, “Barcelona believes deeply in the val­ue of col­lab­o­ra­tion and stan­dard­iza­tion.”

“It will be my plea­sure to join you and par­tic­i­pate in the launch of such an out­stand­ing ini­tia­tive,” says Moham­mad Jaljouli, Advi­sor at the Exec­u­tive Coun­cil, Dubai. “At The Exec­u­tive Coun­cil, we believe in the impor­tance of this major mile­stone towards build­ing city stan­dards, and we look for­ward to adding val­ue to the ongo­ing efforts in this regard.”

Along with the launch of the Coun­cil, the Sum­mit will announce a new inter­na­tion­al stan­dard on city indi­ca­tors using the GCIF frame­work that has been devel­oped through the Inter­na­tion­al Orga­ni­za­tion for Stan­dard­iza­tion.

ISO 37120 Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment in Com­mu­ni­ties: Indi­ca­tors for City Ser­vices and Qual­i­ty of Life is the first ISO stan­dard on city met­rics. Foun­da­tion Cities will be the first to pilot this new ISO stan­dard.

This new ISO Stan­dard marks a crit­i­cal turn­ing point in the world of city data. ISO 37120 pro­vides cities and stake­hold­ers with an oppor­tu­ni­ty for a stan­dard­ized approach to city met­rics, and a glob­al frame­work for third par­ty ver­i­fi­ca­tion of city data.

The WCCD is being estab­lished in this crit­i­cal new space, where ISO 37120 cre­ates the impe­tus for a reli­able, trans­par­ent and open data plat­form.


For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:

Helen Ng
Glob­al City Indi­ca­tors Facil­i­ty
Tel: 647–637-3183