interview with Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, Mayor of the City of Tampere (Finland)
What is a Smart City in your opinion, and what city is in your opinion the best Smart City in the world?
In my opinion Smart City is not just a city of smart technological applications. Of course they are important, but even more important is that the city as a whole forms a platform for smart, green and open city development and co-creation processes between citizens and entrepreneurs.We have to think and act in a holistic way.
Best Smart City? I think Amsterdam and Tampere are quite smart cities!
What do you think is the biggest challenge to develop a successful Smart City project?
It is easy to develop one specific smart city solution, for example an app for smart mobility. But it takes time to change the ways people are moving. So I think it’s not possible to build up smart city without changing our cultural habits and our way of living.
Cooperation between private and public sector are very important in creating smart cities. How can cities attract private partners and convince them to invest?
The city of the future, the smart city, enables resident- and business-led initiatives. The city does not produce all of the services itself; it is more like a facilitator. Innovative procurements and competitions are important tools for these kinds of co-creation processes.
What is the most important success factor in involving citizens in a Smart City project?
Participation has to be open and real process. The aim of Smart City project needs to base to the needs of citizens and the solutions have to be useful for citizens. For example we are developing city tram in Tampere. It is an important solution for public traffic in our growing city, and people accept the project!
What about the future? What kind of smart cities we will have in 2023?
The city of the future is green, it grows inwards, and it decreases its carbon footprint by smart and sustainable ways of construction, travel and consumption. The city of the future is open, enabling active participation in the development of the city.
Smart cities will pave the way for others, and they can also serve as references for companies’ innovations. So they are leading the way to Smart Europe!