The importance of cities is growing rapidly. A clear conclusion of the Smart Safe City Event 2017, 7th and 8th of June in The Hague. Experts from over 30 different countries came together to talk about what the cities of the future will look like and how they will have to be smart, safe ànd inclusive.
‘Technology is a tool to include people’ as Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, assistant secretary general for UN-Habitat put it. Prince Constantijn of Oranje-Nassau stated that ‘the cooperation between start-ups and municipalities can boost smart city solutions.’
At the end of the event the NL Smart City Living Lab was launched. Six Dutch cities will cooperate and share knowledge and solutions in this national program. Prince Constantijn called the initiative a ‘tool to fly high’.
It is Peter Schwartz, futurist and vice-president of Salesforce who starts with some interesting questions. What happens if your city knows you? When your city is awake? When it behaves like your partner? But as Schwartz puts it: ‘Smart cities come from smart governments.’ He is not afraid that all the new technologies and innovation will lead to unemployment. ‘You will see that we keep creating new industries and new jobs. Like we did in the past. We already see this in California. Old jobs disappear slowly, the new jobs are coming up quick.’
According to Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, deputy executive director and assistant Secretary General of UN-Habitat, cities should not only focus on the problems, but on the people. ‘Real city development leaves no one behind’. It is according to her – former mayor of Kigali – the mayor who needs to engage with different communities in the city. Also with the marginalized groups. ‘For example, ask the people how they think about safety in the city. Where do they feel safe?’
Secretary General of the OSCE Lamberto Zannier emphasized on the role of cities in beating the global challenges: climate change, migration, organised crime, terrorism. ‘These issues cannot be dealt in isolation, we have to look to into the root causes. The cities are in the centre of the problems, they are in the trenches. Our cities become laboratories.’ To battle the challenges, cities must exchange their experiences, solutions and failures.
Marc de Groot, leading the ethical hacking team of KPN, explained in his keynote how they are performing hacking exercises to simulate various types of attacks. ‘Hug the hackers and promote responsible disclosure’ is his advice.
It is Sjoerd Louwaars, program manager Entrepreneurship at Leiden University and Founder of the Changemakers Lab, who connects data revolution to humanity. How will humanity benefit?
This is a short, far from complete keynote roundup. See the full presentations (password protected)
The Smart Debate Summary
More than 1,000 experts came to The Hague to listen, learn, discuss and network. Interesting meetings at the round tables, innovation cafes and bootcamps. The topics were divers but like the cities of the future always connected: from the revolution in mobility, urban safety, data to the circular economy. A short wrap-up:
@ Cities are picking up the Paris agreement, instead of national governments
@ There are a lot of pilots, doing it once is easy. Technology sometimes comes to early
@ How do you create awareness about cyber security?
@ Advice for start-ups: Think big, start small and learn by doing
@ How can we collaborate as municipalities? How to deal with commercial parties?
@ Cities have more to say, they should share their findings
@ 10 percent of the barrier to the circular economy is about technology, 90 percent is behaviour.
@ There is still so much ownership, that will change rapidly
@ There are so many smart pilots and projects, it would be good to make combinations. Stimulate partnerships
@ Cyber security is not about information technology, it’s about people.
@ Diversity is the foundation of a city, it makes a city great.
@ We must leverage information technology while protecting privacy and social justice.