The Last American Vagabond –
he push for a “Smart City” future is being engineered by international organizations like the World Economic Forum, the architects of The Great Reset. (This is part 2 of our Smart Cities investigation. Please read part 1, UNDERSTANDING THE DANGERS OF INNOVATION ZONES AND SMART CITIES, to better understand the dangers of Smart Cities and Innovation Zones.)
The public is being driven towards a “Smart City” future which we are told will end systemic racism, overcrowding, pollution, and crime. As covered in part 1 of this investigation, there are legitimate concerns with the Smart City movement. Without proper protections, this vision will spell the end of privacy, property ownership, and freedom of movement. This is the dream of the World Economic Forum and their partners at the United Nations.
In a future where all towns and cities are outfitted with the latest smart tech, fighting to maintain privacy and freedom of movement is crucial. It’s also important to understand the “innovation zones”, “special economic zones”, and “smart cities” in the context of the World Economic Forum’s “The Great Reset” vision. How do these emerging technologies and concepts play a role in fomenting the centralized, authoritarian vision imagined by the talking heads at the WEF?
The Great Reset, Agenda 2030, and Smart Cities
A Smart City is promoted as an urban environment which “uses data and emerging technologies to improve the quality of life for citizens, share information with the public, drive economic growth and build a more inclusive society”. This city would involve the use of technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and drones to “improve citizens’ lives and solve the challenges of today while preparing to address those of tomorrow”.
The World Economic Forum – the architects of The Great Reset – and a host of other international public-private partnerships have been promoting the concept as a solution for fighting climate change for years. The COVID-19 operation has helped further cement the idea that our cities and infrastructure are unsustainable and thus, we must upgrade to Smart Cities.
In June 2019, the WEF announced they were collaborating with the leadership of the G20 to lead a “new global effort to establish universal norms and guidelines for implementation of smart city technology”. The move brought the WEF into the fold of global organizations focused on bringing the Smart City vision to life.
This “Global Smart Cities Alliance” (GSCA) was formed to “establish global standards for data collection and use, foster greater transparency and public trust, and promote best practices in smart city governance.” The WEF and the Smart Cities Alliance described the need for smart city technology as follows:
“To support their booming urban populations, many cities have come to rely on the internet of things (IoT)—that is, the world’s ever-expanding network of connected devices—to collect, share and analyse real-time data on urban environments. The data gathered using IoT technologies is helping these “smart cities” to combat crime, reduce pollution, decrease traffic congestion, improve disaster preparedness and more. However, it is also raising growing concerns about privacy, security and other risks.
Without proper governance, these smart city technologies pose significant challenges that can outweigh their benefits. But despite the growing number of smart cities around the world, no global framework exists for regulating how data should be collected in public spaces (such as by traffic cameras or Wi-Fi hotspots) and subsequently used.”
The GSCA and the WEF are now primed to be the lead organizations to establish a global framework for smart city governance. Additionally, in November 2020, the WEF selected 36 cities to “pioneer a new global policy roadmap for smart cities developed by the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance”. The cities are meant to be the models for the Smart City future. These cities will be used as the testing grounds for the WEF and G20 “roadmap”. These so-called “pioneer cities” include Barcelona, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; London, United Kingdom; Mexico City, Mexico, and San José, United States.
Most recently, the WEF launched a platform called “Shaping the Future of the Internet of Things and Urban Transformation” to help transform “the spaces in which we live, work and play to enable a more sustainable, resilient and prosperous future for all.” The WEF is working with more than 100 global partners to implement the platform’s key initiatives, which include Future of the Connected World, focused on the Internet of Things (IoT); Future of Real Estate, discussing transitioning the real estate industry; and Future of Cities, which will discuss the “responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies with partners representing more than 200,000 cities and local governments”.
Clearly, the World Economic Forum is a major proponent of the push towards Smart Cities. Through their partnerships, initiatives, and publications, the WEF is playing an outsized role in promoting the technological vision for urban areas. However, upon closer examination it becomes clear that the WEF is simply parroting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN Sustainable Development Goal #11
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly with the intention of achieving them by the year 2030. The SDGs were part of a larger resolution known as the 2030 Agenda, or Agenda 2030.
The language of the WEF and the Global Smart Cities Alliance clearly mirrors the language of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. For example, the eleventh SDG is “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” The “Goal 11 Targets” include reducing the “adverse per capita environmental impact of cities” and providing “universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces” by 2030.
The United Nations has also launched the “United for Smart Sustainable Cities” (U4SSC) initiative to help achieve SDG 11. According to their website, “U4SSC serves as the global platform to advocate for public policy and to encourage the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to facilitate and ease the transition to smart sustainable cities.” Coincidentally, the 5th meeting of the U4SSC Initiative took place on 9 October 2020, about one week before the World Economic Forum was involved in the Event 201 pandemic simulation exercise.
The United Nations is not alone in leading the charge for Smart Cities to help achieve UN SDGs. There are also non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) involved in the process. These include 100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC), developed by the Rockefeller Foundation to help “cities around the world to become more resilient to physical, social, and economic shocks”, and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies with former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg as President of the Board.
How Smart City Propaganda Spreads on the Local Level
The push for Smart City technology and programs is not exclusively the activity of international governments and NGOs. The spread of Smart City propaganda also happens via local governing bodies which help implement the UN SDGs. In this way local officials pass resolutions and form committees which are aimed at implementing Agenda 2030/Great Reset goals under the guise of beautifying their respective cities and towns. One prime example, is Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Turner is a great example of an individual using their position of power to emulate the UN SDGs.
In May 2018, Turner established a Smart City Advisory Council to help transition Houston to the city of the future while working to reduce climate change. “The age of technology is here and we cannot afford to sit idle,” Turner said at the time. “We must leap, not stroll into the future. The advisory council will set the stage for Houston to become the Smart City of the world.”
Under Turner’s mayorship, Houston has also partnered with with tech giant Microsoft as part of the Microsoft Innovation Alliance initiative. Turner also partnered with Verizon Inc to make Houston the site of the first 5G implementation in the United States. Turner’s relationship with Verizon and the wireless industry are so great that the Cellular, Telephone, and Internet Association (CTIA) lobbying group presented him the 2018 “5g Wireless Champion Award” for removing “barriers to the deployment of next-generation wireless infrastructure”. The CTIA stated that, “Under Mayor Turner’s leadership, Houston has streamlined the permitting process by not requiring a license or attachment agreement for new poles or small cells, and completes review ahead of deadlines. “
The connection to 5G networks is important because the technology is the backbone of the Smart City vision. In order for the autonomous vehicles, drones, robot assistants, smart lights, and sensors in the street to operate, there must be little to no latency between devices on the Internet of Things (IoT). This means smart cities must be outfitted with 5G. Indeed, the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Intelligence platform has a page dedicated to the ways 5G will shape the world in the coming years.
Mayor Turner has also sought to use COVID-19 as a promotion for Houston’s Smart City for resilience initiative. Forbes notes that Houston is “using real-time data” and “digital contact tracing” to identify community spread and more rapidly develop policies. The city has also partnered with tech firm Intel for a “smart water program” that uses genetic markers to understand community spread.
In January, the Climate Mayors announced Turner as the next Chair of the nationwide coalition. In this role, Turner will “help catalyze climate-forward actions taken at the local level, provide an example of climate action for leaders at all levels of government”. Turner is also the Vice-Chair of the National Climate Action Agenda, a member of the Global Covenant for Mayors for Climate and Energy, and as of October 2020, the Chairman of the Resilient Cities Network.
One of the “Core Funders” of the Resilient Cities Network is the Rockefeller Foundation, the same organization who founded the 100RC Network. In fact, as part of 100RC, the Rockefeller Foundation helps partner cities establish “Chief Resilience Officers” to implement the goals of the organization. The Rockefeller Foundation is intertwined with the Gates Foundation as part of the COVID-19 operation. They are also working with the World Economic Forum on the CommonPass vaccination passport.
In February 2020, Turner and his team released the Resilient Houston report as part of the overall Resilient Cities Network. Resilient Houston includes 62 actions aligned with UN SDGs. The report identified six themes “to advance implementation” of these goals, including Smart Cities. “Technological advances and innovation at the heart of advancing smart city initiatives will be harnessed,” the report states.
Sustainability for Equity or Control?
At first glance, there is a tendency to solely acknowledge the benefits of the schemes proposed by these organizations. The World Economic Forum, Global Smart Cities Alliance, the United Nations, 100RC, and Mayor Turner all claim that smart city technology will help usher in an era of sustainable and inclusive urban environments. They say that the IoT, 5G, and Smart Cities are needed to bring in this utopian future. These organizations and the SDGs they seek to implement often speak of equity, and sound rather innocuous to the casual reader. After all, creating more bike lanes and green spaces for people to relax outdoors sounds wonderful. Until you realize that the WEF Agenda 2030/Great Reset agenda involves limiting who can drive and who can fly. The reality is that the UN and WEF are only paying lip service to protecting privacy and liberty.
For example, Port-au-Prince, Haiti is using cell-phone data records, combined with machine learning techniques, to identify the most common traffic patterns and flooding risks in order to better plan and protect the city’s transport infrastructure going forward. However, there is no discussion of what will happen to those phone records which have been collected and who has access to them and for how long. Without proper protections, billions of people’s personal data will be used to shape the technological world around them.
In truth, the push for smart cities, the UN SDGs, and the Great Reset is based in a deeper agenda to monitor, control, and direct all life on the planet using technology. The true agenda of the WEF and the United Nations is to establish a global Technocratic State where alleged experts and technologists make decisions for the vast majority of the people in the name of saving the environment.