Cities urged to help shape the metaverse

For some, the metaverse is the future of the internet, retail, media and everything in between. For others, it’s distracting hype beset with risks. Whatever its eventual form turns out to be, the likelihood is that the metaverse is coming.

That’s why Lena Geraghty, Director of Sustainability and Innovation at the National League of Cities (NLC), believes now is the right time for cities to engage. She is one of the authors of the new NLC report Cities and the Metaverse.

“The metaverse is definitely the new buzzword in a long list of emerging technology buzzwords, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile for city leaders to get familiar and comfortable about what it could mean for their communities,” Geraghty noted.

“The metaverse has real potential to improve city services and the lives of residents if deployed well. For that to happen, city leaders need to be at the forefront of the conversation.”

There is no agreed-upon definition of the metaverse yet, but it is envisioned as the next evolution of the internet based on the integration of physical and digital experiences. It is bringing together technologies such as gaming engines, digital twins, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and virtual reality.

The concept has gained greater traction since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta last year and outlined plans to shift its focus to the metaverse. Since then, companies including Microsoft, Autodesk, and Nvidia have started aligning themselves with the emerging digital world.

According to Bloomberg, the global metaverse revenue opportunity could approach USD 800 billion by 2024.


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