What are the challenges facing smart cities in 2023?

What are the challenges facing smart cities in 2023?


What are the challenges facing smart cities in 2023? Muhammad Yahya Patel, Lead Security Engineer at Check Point Software Technologies answers in TechRadar.com.

The above-featured image is for illustration and is of The Peninsula.


What are the challenges facing smart cities in 2023?


Smart cities face unique challenges when it comes to cybersecurity. Networks are used by public and private entities, people and thousands of IoT devices each day. The massive amount of data exchanged across these networks requires a stringent security strategy. Some of the main challenges include:

Connected devices: A multitude of IoT devices that control everything from CCTV and traffic light management to organizations personal and financial data could be connected to a network at any one time. In theory this sounds ideal for seamless communication and management, but in practice it offers hackers thousands of potential entry points to launch an attack.


Automation of infrastructure operations: Automation brings many benefits for all kinds of operations for smart cities, reducing the need for direct human control over such operational systems. The increase of sensors means more connections to monitor and manage. These could be seen as more targets to compromise through vulnerabilities.

Sub-standard data management processes: Data is at the heart of any smart city and is critical to everyday operations. However, many lack the correct processes to ensure this information is managed safely and securely. If a database is not policed correctly, it can be simple for hackers to target and compromise, which leads to sensitive data being leaked or stolen.

Risks from the ICT supply chain and vendors: We know the risks posed by the supply chain and third parties. This was particularly evident during the recent zero-day vulnerability found in file transfer software MOVEit, which was subsequently exploited as part of a large-scale ransomware attack. Threat actors continue to target the weakest links and therefore attacking smart infrastructure systems are bound to be a lucrative target for any cybercriminal. To combat this, it is key that we adopt and adhere to secure-by-design and default practices to minimize these risks.

Outdated technology: Many cities have infrastructure and networks built on outdated technology which leaves them susceptible to cyberattacks. Ensuring systems are up to date with the latest software updates and security patches is paramount. Technology is central to the success of any smart city and having resilient systems should be a priority.

Inefficient security: Linked directly to outdated technology, having inefficient security protocols in place exposes smart cities to malicious threats. This leaves citizens and organizations vulnerable to data breaches, identity theft and loss of sensitive information. Protecting existing infrastructure with robust security measures could prevent a potentially disastrous breach. So, how do we ensure that the safety, security and privacy of those who live and work in smart cities is not compromised?

Building cyber resilience within smart cities

Research suggests that by 2024 there will be over 1.3 billion wide-area network smart city connections. The level of complexity within these digital infrastructures is only increasing which means any digital services implemented by a government or organization are vulnerable to cyberattacks. To realize their potential, smart cities need to find an effective balance between managing risk and enabling growth.

Building resilience to protect your city against these attacks is key, but how is this achieved? The starting point should be developing a cybersecurity strategy that maps on to the broader objective of your smart city. This will help mitigate risks arising from the interconnectedness of city processes and systems. Part of any effective strategy should be the requirement to carry out an assessment of current data, systems and cyber defenses as this will help to give an idea of current posture and quality of infrastructure.

Creating a formal relationship between cybersecurity and the governance of data will also be extremely beneficial. This essentially creates an agreed approach to cybersecurity between all parties within a smart city, meaning all stakeholders work together to ensure data is secure across the networks it’s being exchanged. The policies put in place will mature alongside a city’s cyber strategy and add transparency to processes.

Finally, building strategic partnerships to help address the cybersecurity skills shortage is key to any successful security strategy. This is a good way to develop skills and increase your knowledge base which in turn bolsters overall security posture and resilience. For example, recently the CISA, NSA, FBI, NCSC-UK, ACSC, CCCS and NCSC-NZ released a document with guidance on best practices for smart cities. The aim is not only to protect these connected spaces from malicious threats but also to share expertise and educate us on the importance of cybersecurity within smart cities.

Get smart and be proactive

It goes without saying, smart city technologies need to adopt a proactive methodology to ensure cyber security risks are the forefront of planning and design of technologies. Being ‘secure by design’ is strongly recommended in conjunction with a defense in depth approach. There may be some legacy infrastructure connecting to the smart infrastructure, and this may require a redesign to make sure secure connectivity and integration is possible.

Hackers will continue to exploit vulnerabilities. An overwhelming number of cyberattacks against businesses could be avoided if supply chain and third-party security is taken seriously. Attackers are exceptionally quick to start exploiting vulnerabilities in well-known products. Invest in the resources to help combat the everyday struggle of security patches and updates. You don’t want to get caught out by the very thing you expect to protect your business.

Underpinning the implementation of smart city technology is operational resilience. To make sure organizations are well prepared, contingencies are put in place for different types of incidents, which could have operational impact or disruption. Autonomous functionality and isolation tools should exist to help minimize these types of disruption.

Risk, privacy and legality all play an important role in smart cities, making sure data being collected, stored and processed is in accordance with regulations. It’s critical that city leaders, developers and business owners don’t see securing cyber risk within their smart city as a one-time objective. It’s an ongoing, evolving process that could be the difference between a major breach or major growth..



Sustainable transformation of our urban open spaces

Sustainable transformation of our urban open spaces


The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to Times of Malta.

Sustainable transformation of our urban open spaces

Access to nature and environments that provide a sense of refuge or relaxation are being sought.
By Sarah Scheiber
13 August 2023
Photo: Dawra Madwarna/Sarah ScheiberPhoto: Dawra Madwarna/Sarah Scheiber

Climate change, global warming and the exhaustion of fossil fuels have raised the sustainability agenda’s importance. In relation to urban design, sustainability refers to ways in which a city, community or development can meet economic, environmental, social and cultural needs.

Sustainability is not just about energy or resource efficiency but also about responding to community needs, that means, designing for people.

Open spaces are a central component of the urban landscape and, due to the impacts of climate change and demographic trends, are likely to become more, rather than less, important. How can we implement sustainability, and what does it mean in tangible terms when considering the planning and design of urban open spaces?

Numerous studies have shown that green open spaces in urban areas potentially provide several benefits concerning the three dimensions of sustainable development. These are social, environmental and economic aspects that should be considered in an integrated way. To achieve these benefits, various planning and design principles must be considered. Research on the planning and design of urban open spaces in Malta has shown that five principles require attention.

The first is creating recreational areas within urban areas. Recreational areas must be accessible to all – including those who do not drive. The closer we live to green open spaces, the more viable walking and using public transport is.



Research on the planning and design of urban open spaces in Malta has shown that five principles require attention



The second principle is thinking about a network and ensuring connectivity – improving street design for walking and cycling, and providing a network of high-quality public spaces facilitating public transport use. This can reduce many short car trips, making urban areas more accessible and attractive.

The third principle investigates maximising the presence of vegetation and its potential for multifunctionality. Integrating and increasing vegetation within urban open spaces improves air quality, creating comfortable microclimates and mitigating climate change impacts such as extreme flooding.

Local surveys have shown that access to nature and environments that provide a sense of refuge or relaxation are being sought in urban areas.

The fourth principle ensures socially inclusive processes and culturally responsive proposals. Engaging with local communities to respond to cultural preferences and create a sense of ownership for public spaces is essential for successful transformations.

The final principle calls for good governance: Creating a governance structure that ‘champions’ and drives the implementation of community participatory methodologies and cross-sectoral collaborations is an integral component.

Research has shown potential solutions to reclaim urban open spaces. All it takes is some re-thinking and being open to implementing innovative solutions.

Sarah Scheiber is an urban designer, spatial planner and a lecturer.

Sound Bites

  • Vegetation in urban areas improves air quality. Leaf surfaces absorb nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, while particulate matter deposited on leaves is absorbed into the ground as they fall or are washed by rain. Urban canyons (high densities/tall buildings) create concentrated pollution. Research shows that increased planting (green roofs, trees, etc) increases deposition of nitrogen oxides and particulates.
  • Active lifestyles are essential for physical health. Neighbourhood parks are typically too small to support aerobic activity such as walking or jogging required for adults. Neighbourhood walkability is thus crucial for supporting daily physical activity.  One study showed that walkable green spaces, including tree-lined streets, in urban residential areas increased longevity for the elderly. Additionally, access to nature reduces stress and improves general well-being.

For more soundbites, click on https://www.facebook.com/RadioMochaMalta.


  • Trees/vegetation could result in shaded surfaces being 11-25°C cooler than peak temperatures of unshaded surfaces and reducing peak summer temperatures by 1 to 5°C.
  • Tree pits can be designed as stormwater catchments, thereby reducing rainwater run-off in dense urban areas.
  • Typically, streets makeup 80 per cent of public space in cities and thus also need to provide for social activity, not just transportation.

For more trivia, see: http://www.um.edu.mt/think.





Partnership between private, public sectors main pillar for sustainability

Partnership between private, public sectors main pillar for sustainability


Partnership between private, public sectors main pillar for sustainability is certainly not a vain word in Kuwait.

The image above is of  Participants in the conference, which stressed the importance of cooperation between the private and public sectors to achieve prosperity, are seen in this group photo.


Partnership between private, public sectors main pillar for sustainable economy: Official

Cooperation encourages foreign investment, creates job opportunities

KUWAIT: Partnership between both private and public sectors is imperative for a diverse and sustainable economy in accordance with Kuwait’s 2035 Vision, General Secretary of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (SCPD) Dr Khaled Mahdi said Monday. Mahdi made the statement while inaugurating the second Kuwait conference for partnership between the private and public sectors, organized by the Kuwaiti Federation of Engineering Offices and Consultant Houses with the participation of some government agencies and under the sponsorship from SCPD.

Partnership between the two sides is one of the main tools for economically enabling the private sector, including small and medium enterprises, and encouraging foreign investment, Mahdi told attendees. Cooperation between the two sectors “is no longer a complementary policy for economic development only, but also necessary and inevitable for economic growth,” he said.

It contributes to creating new job opportunities, raising production efficiency, achieving better value for investment and helps with the transfer and localization of technology. The partnership also creates investment opportunities for the local and foreign private sector, he elaborated. Although SCPD projects have so far been focused on infrastructure, specifically generating electricity, water desalination and sewage treatment, Mahdi said, the authority will be expanding to other fields when collaborating with the private sector.

Meanwhile, Bader Suleiman, head of the Kuwaiti Federation of Engineering Offices and Consultant Houses (KFEOCH) which organized the conference, said the gathering aims at discussing executive, legal and legislative aspects required to achieve the success of partnership projects and removing obstacles. The three-day conference will also touch upon the best global practices in this field to avoid delays and ineffecient government measures, he said. Partnership is the way for the private sector to actively participate in achieving renaissance and prosperity of society, he said, stressing the federation’s support for this aspect to reach the desired positive results. – KUNA

Read the original Kuwait Times



Call for applications to finance projects in 7 Mediterranean countries


Call for applications to finance projects in 7 Mediterranean countries


Green Economy: UfM launches call for applications to finance projects in 7 Mediterranean countries

The above image is of UfM

(TAP) – On 16/03/2023, TUNIS/Tunisia. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) launched a call for applications to finance projects aimed at promoting employment and entrepreneurship in the green economy sector. The aim is to support the environmental transition of the economies of 7 Mediterranean countries, including Tunisia.


According to information published Thursday by the UfM, this call for applications is intended for NGOs working to support vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate change and by the evolution of the socio-economic context.


Eligible for this call for applications are non-profit NGOs active in the field of environmental transition of economies in an inclusive manner and with respect for social justice. These NGOs must be based in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritania, Palestine or Tunisia, with priority given to regional projects. The deadline for applications is May 29, 2023.


The selected candidates will benefit from financial support ranging from 150,000 to 300,000 euros (which represents a sum varying between 500,000 and 1 million dinars) per project, as well as from the UfM’s technical expertise, which will give them greater visibility.


Funded by the UfM with the support of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), this initiative, in its first edition, launched in 2020, helped 18,000 people, mainly young people and women, from seven UfM member states (Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco and Tunisia).

These projects address employment challenges in the areas of entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, sustainable tourism, and education and research.

The green economy, as well as “green” jobs, are set to play a key role in the sustainable recovery of the Mediterranean region from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sustainability game-changers at World Cup


The 2022 Football World Cup looks more like Sustainability game-changers have been the host country’s top priority. It undertook for reasons specific to the government to opt for the latest sustainability philosophy throughout its decade-long development of the games’ required infrastructure.


Sustainability game-changers at World Cup

The International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) said that FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has been a game changer in terms of organising a sustainable tournament. Many innovations will have a lasting influence on the way similar events are planned and delivered in the future.
FIFA said in a report today that a special and comprehensive program for energy and water management has been employed in the stadiums for this edition of the World Cup, which adopts efficient designs, constructions and operations, noting that all stadiums are 30% more energy efficient and consume less water than international benchmarks (ASHRAE 90.1), and recycled water vapor from cooling systems in stadiums is used to irrigate the surrounding stadium landscape, 90 % of temporary diesel generators were replaced by electric sub-stations providing greener grid power and reducing air pollution, and all five energy centers at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadiums have GSAS Seasonal Energy Efficiency certification.

Gulf Times

The report stated that all future FIFA World Cups will continue to use this sustainability program as the blueprint for ensuring maximum operational efficiency.
For this edition of the FIFA World Cup, a fleet of 311 eco-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles and 10 electric buses have been provided by sponsors Hyundai and Kia for use as ground transport of teams, officials and VIPs at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. This marks the first time that EVs have been deployed in such numbers to service event organizers, a precedent which is sure to be followed as FIFA continues to emphasize the need for clean mobility.
The report stated that ecological imperative to avoid, reduce, re-use and recycle has also been a defining policy of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 from the early planning stages, reflecting the organizers’ leadership and commitment to divert all tournament waste from landfill, including tournament-wide recycling of plastic, aluminum, cardboard, paper and glass and composting of waste food and compostable tableware at all stadiums, training camps, and other official sites, all uniforms for workforce staff and 20,000 volunteers were made from recycled materials, and distributed in bags converted from signage and stadium dressing from previous events.
The report emphasised that inclusiveness was a game-changer, thanks to an expansive range of features which have helped make it more accessible for disabled fans through mobility assistance, accessible transport, parking, facilities and five ticket types for disabled people and people with limited mobility, audio-descriptive commentary in English, and for the first time Arabic, for blind and partially sighted people to enjoy matches in the live stadium atmosphere.
For the first time at a FIFA World Cup, sensory rooms for people with sensory access requirements to allow them to attend a match without becoming overwhelmed by the sounds and stimuli of match day.