The jury is out on whether the much-hyped metaverse will really materialise, what form it will take and the advantages and risks it might bring.

But even at this early stage, some cities are looking at how they could benefit and their role in shaping the future.

While cities have plenty of challenges to focus on today, many believe they have a responsibility to also look ahead and learn from the past when it comes to emerging technology.

Research last year by ThoughtLab found that of 200 global cities surveyed, 44 said they are making investments to ensure that their cities are metaverse-ready.

Seoul is the first out of the gate with Metaverse Seoul, which it says can serve as a model for other cities. Local government leaders from Rotterdam and Tampere to Santa Monica and Dubai are among those also experimenting or creating metaverse plans.

Some cities are eyeing economic development opportunities, while others see potential for education, resident engagement and improving the accessibility of city services.

The majority, though, are at the stage where they’re keen to know more and ensure they’re in the room as the concept advances.


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