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11:00 am - 1:00 pm

How do we ensure that the technologies that are being deployed in the corona crisis respect public values such as democracy, human dignity, privacy, equality and sustainability?

About the Event:

The Green European Foundation and the Green Economics Institute are delighted to invite you to a webinar on smart cities in corona times. All over Europe, municipalities want to become ‘smart cities’, front-runners in the use of sensors, big data, algorithms and apps. Smart technologies offer opportunities for improving the quality of life in cities, for reducing their ecological footprint and for creating new urban commons. But they may also present threats to civil liberties and to social justice. The smart city should not be an end in itself. A smart city is only really smart if data collection and artificial intelligence are steered by values. How do we ensure that public values such as democracy, human dignity, privacy, equality and sustainability are put at the heart of smart cities?

This webinar will gather experts, practitioners, activists and (local) politicians. The online discussions will cover two mornings. Participants can choose to take part in one session or in both sessions. The webinar takes the Green European Foundation’s Charter for the Smart City as a starting point. The results of the webinar will feed into the online version of the Charter.



  • Richard Wouters – Wetenschappelijk Bureau GroenLinks, project leader A Charter for the Smart City. (Netherlands)
  • Prof. Maria Madi – Specialist in the Digital Economy and Innovation Philosophy. (Portugal/Brazil)


  • Monika Sobiecki – Barrister specialising in Digital Technology, Data and AI Law; senior associate in a Privacy and Cybersecurity team. (United Kingdom)
  • Dr. Vandana Shiva – Scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, and anti-globalization author; Founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology. (India)
  • Dorothy Nalubega – Minority rights activist, feminist, and environmentalist; African Coordinator for the Global Greens Women’s Network and Chairperson of the East African Greens Women’s Network. (Uganda)
  • Natalie Louise Bennett – Former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales; member of the UK House of Lords; specialist in Mass Communication and former editor of The Guardian Weekly. (United Kingdom)
  • Ewa Sufin-Jacquemart – Director of the Green Polish foundation “Strefa Zieleni”, writes for the Green journal „Zielone Wiadomości”, and coordinator of the Green Centre of the Congress of Women. (Poland)


June 19th 11:00 – 13:00

    • Presentation of the Charter for the Smart City, value-led development of technology and its relevance in times of corona by Richard Wouters (Wetenschappelijk Bureau GroenLinks, NL), followed by discussion.
    • Presentation and discussion on digital surveillance. Will the corona crisis take the surveillance of citizens and workers to new heights? Can and should we counter this tendency? Is there a role for local politics?

June 20th 11:00 – 13:00

    • Presentation and discussion on digital innovations. The corona crisis has given a boost to the digitalisation of work, commerce, education and social life. How do we deal with the socio-economic inequalities which arise from this? Can we prevent Big Tech from becoming even more powerful? What role for local politics?
    • Presentation and discussion on a Green New Deal. The economic crisis and the climate crisis must be tackled simultaneously. Does this create new opportunities for green technologies? What role for local politics?



We will use the Zoom video conferencing platform. It is recommended to join the webinar via a PC. You do not need to install additional software. However, for the best user experience and full participation features, we recommend to install the Zoom Desktop App, which is free.


This event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. You can register via the GEI website, via Eventbrite, or by emailing info@geiconferences.org.

Please consider making a donation to enable the Green Economics Institute, a not for profit, to continue its work. The suggested donation is around £25.00 per person.


The Charter for the Smart City is available on the website of the Green European Foundation. Click here to download.

This event is organised by the Green European Foundation and the Green Economics Institute, with the financial support of the European Parliament to the Green European Foundation.

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