Amongst all the challenges and opportunities that 2020 has presented, the need for the technology and infrastructure of our cities to be designed and operated in a smarter, more integrated and resilient way has been thrown into stark relief by the COVID pandemic and its impact on our lives.

In that context, it was encouraging to see the World Economic Forum's recent announcement, as part of its G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance, of the 36 "pioneer cities" that will spearhead the development of a new global policy roadmap for the adoption of procedures, laws and regulations to enable the use of data and new technology in smart city projects in a consistent and responsible way.

Even more pleasing is the fact that, among the 36 cities (spanning 22 countries) were 3 in the UK - Leeds, Belfast and London - all of which have in different ways been at the forefront of adopting data and technology-led solutions to address the challenges of the people who live and work there.

The concept of Smart Cities is now well-established as a desirable outcome, but the legislative and governance framework to enable city leaders to deliver that outcome remains some way behind. If the WEF's policy roadmap can be a catalyst to creating clear, consistent and robust laws and standards to achieve the benefits that Smart City technologies promise, that can only be a good thing.