Good news! It’s Friday, and we have a new selection of must-reads hotter than this heatwave.

Do happy citizens make for healthier cities? Can tech startups play a role in increasing citizens’ wellbeing? Will 5G make our cities smarter? And what happens when our cities are governed by only one group of people? Those are the questions we’re trying to answer in this week’s reading list.

Did you miss our previous selection? Check out our blog for more! If you’re all caught up, it’s time to grab a cold drink and dive right in!

1. “City planning: How to put citizens’ wellbeing first” by Apolitical

Progress in a city can be measured through various benchmarks, like per capita income or GDP growth. Santa Monica, California, chose a different approach and established a Wellbeing index that incorporates things like a sense of community, mental and physical health, and opportunities to learn.

In this opinion piece, a Bloomberg Cities urban planner explores how this approach could work in the Indian city of Amaravati. The state’s Chief Minister Naidu has boldly announced that Amaravati will soon be one of the world’s happiest cities, and this article dives deeper into what it takes to get there. From focusing on gender equality to collecting data and optimising infrastructure, the Indian city is putting citizens’ wellbeing first. A must-read for cities and local governments looking to prioritise their citizens’ wants and needs.

2. “The same faces are deciding the world’s future, and it affects us all” by Nesta

This week, the UK’s Tory Party elected Boris Johnson as the country’s new MP. It’s the first time that an MP is elected by votes from only one party, and those votes can barely be considered representative: a typical Tory member is white, male, middle-class and over 50 years old, which is not what the average UK citizen looks like.

And this is not just a problem in the UK. A lack of diversity in our political representation is a widespread phenomenon, and this article explores how we can overcome it. A must-read for everyone who believes that governments should represent the people they serve. And if you’re interested in inclusion, check out our free e-guide about creating inclusive participation projects.

3. “5G: The catalyst connected cities have been waiting for?” by SmartCitiesWorld

The rise of 5G and hyper-fast connectivity raises an age-old chicken-or-egg-story: “will the capability spur application development, or will the development drive demand for increased capability? “

It’s obvious that the arrival of 5G could have a big impact on smart cities and how they operate. This article dives deeper into those implications and explores how increased connectivity could potentially change our cities as we know them. A must-read for those who’ve been waiting for hyper-fast internet, or for their cities to become smarter: change is around the corner!

4. “How startups are gearing up to address challenges in India’s civic tech ecosystem” by YourStory

Another article on India, one of the world’s fast-growing economies. This country, in the process of booming urbanisation, is faced with a number of obstacles in providing citizen services to its ever-growing population, and increasingly, civic tech is stepping up to fill the gap. Civic tech tools could make a tangible difference in sectors like waste, water and sanitation. That way, they not only improve citizens’ daily lives, but also empower them to hold their governments accountable.

A must-read for civic tech aficionados, and anyone who believes that tech startups have a significant role to play to improve citizens’ lives.

That’s it for this week! If you’re looking for more, download our comprehensive e-guides on participatory budgeting or inclusion in e-democracy, or contact our experts to get started with digital participation in your city! And don’t forget to stay hydrated!

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