Prior to the Smart City Event, we have interviewed several important stakeholders and partners about their vision on Smart Cities. What exactly defines a Smart City? And what city is the best Smart City in the world?
‘’The energy challenge facing our planet will be lost or won in the cities. By 2050, 70% of the world’s populations will be based in cities compared to 50% today. This increased urbanization will give increased problems for cities in terms of infrastructure, their ability to meet existing environmental targets and also on their ability to attract new residents and companies, which bring wealth and prosperity to a city. It’s a challenge not only for the new economies but also for mature economies. Therefore, it is becoming more and more important to make a city smart. ‘’
– James Huntley, VP at Energy Schneider Electric.
Energy-efficient, resource-efficient and Scalable
It is clear that the term ‘smart city’ means different things to different cities and is a topic which is constantly evolving. Therefore, it is hard to give a specific definition to a Smart City. However, we agree that a Smart City is one which is able to provide all the services its citizens needs in the most efficient way, while creating jobs, fostering new ideas, being respectful with the environment and taking into account its citizens opinions. ‘’Moreover, we can agree that a smart city is a city that manages its mobility, energy, buildings, space, and digital information in an energy-efficient, resource-efficient, sustainable and scalable way in favor of the well-being of the citizens, workers and travelers’’, argues Ingrid Reynaert, Project Manager Smart Cities at Agoria.
Smart City as a tool
Some organizations see a smart city project more as a tool instead of the end goal. ‘’For Copenhagen becoming a smart city is not a goal in itself’’, explains Elisabeth Kongsmark, city coordinator for Copenhagen of the European FP7 project ‘Transformation agenda for low carbon cities’ (TRANSFORM). “For Copenhagen Smart City-thinking is more like an instrument, which helps us to create a liveable and sustainable place for all.” As a city you never can say ‘now we are smart’. It’s about being able to constantly grab new developments and new challenges.”
More than just sensors and technology
Victor Martinez del Rey, director Urban Planning & Urban Quality for Sant Cugat del Valles Municipality argues that a Smart City is more than just sensors and technology itself: ‘’A smart city is the one which is able to provide all the services its citizens needs in the most efficient way, while creating jobs, fostering new ideas, being respectful with the environment and taking into account its citizens opinions. A Smart City Concept is much more than sensors; they just help providing data that cities wouldn’t have if they hadn’t done the necessary investment to implement them. ‘’
Best Smart City in the World?
And although there are several indexes to rank cities, within such context, many organizations agree that there is no absolute ‘Smart Cities’, or ‘Best Smart City in the world’, only cities that are open to create opportunities and additional value. ‘’I don’t think there is a fully smart city in the world, able to deliver smart advantages to their citizens, at all. In all the projects I have seen in the world, they all delivers a little package of services and advantages, so little and still inexpressive to all the citizens. We really need a project or program big enough to deliver a real state of smart citizens and the real smart city will grow up after these citizens behavior, acting smart, and living with smart benefits and real smart results’’, says Miguel Menechini Camargo, Advisor of the Department of International and Federative Affairs from the City of São Paulo.
Smart City Event
During this event 500+ smart city professionals from over 30 countries share their vision and knowledge with each other. The event contains keynote speeches, interactive round table sessions, inspiring labs, excursions, dinners, breakfast meetings and lots of networking opportunities the Smart City Event is the place to be. Curious? View the program!