Alexandra VIDAL

Alexandra Vidal

Researcher and project manager

  • Thematic lines of research: Global cities and metropolises.

Professional experience

Alexandra Vidal is a researcher and project manager for the Global Cities Program. Her research revolves around the digitization of cities and the democratic and ethical processes in the development of urban artificial intelligence. Currently, she is part of the research team of the Global Observatory of Urban Artificial Intelligence (GOUAI) within the framework of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights. She has a Postgraduate Degree in Territorial Planning with a focus on sustainable urbanism from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and a Degree in International Relations from Blanquerna - Universitat Ramón Llull, having completed part of her studies at "L'École de Gouvernance et d'Économie" in Rabat. Before joining CIDOB, she was a researcher and project manager at the Tanja Foundation, developing international cooperation projects between Morocco and Spain.

Context - Nov 29, 2023

Cities draw up AI policies as US federal laws lag behind

A global database of locally led "ethical" AI initiatives called the Atlas of Urban AI lists 184 projects in 66 cities, including in Dubai, Helsinki, Mexico City and elsewhere. These are scored in part on transparency, accountability, lack of discrimination and sustainability – the latter of which ranks poorest among the atlas's projects, said Alexandra Vidal, a researcher and project manager who helps lead the project at the Barcelona think-tank CIBOD. So far, such initiatives are found more in the Global North, said Marta Galceran Vercher, a research fellow at CIBOD, but she noted that cities such as Barcelona, where officials have passed an explicit mandate around ethical AI, offer significant models. "Cities are stepping out ahead of the national governments to say, 'We need to be more ambitious'," she said.