There are probably more definitions of a smart city as there are leafs on a tree. For me, as a social democrat, the wellbeing of every the citizens, regardless of social or economic standing, are at the center of a smart city.
For me, a Smart City envisions a sustainable, livable and resilient future, which demands smart application, utilization and integration of new technology and services to benefit the most important piece in the puzzle: the citizen.
There are various types of smart cities. Every city has its own DNA, history and culture. Therefore we believe every city should develop an own approach that’s fits these elements and the local ecosystem that is needed to develop innovative solutions. In Amsterdam we do not focus on the technology. All needed technology is already there, or will be there tomorrow. Social innovation and the process of innovation are more important. With a great focus on learning – by – doing, we learn valuable lessons every day together with all our partners in Amsterdam and beyond who are working on the development of Amsterdam as a smart city. The challenge here is to guide this development efficiently and sustainably. That’s why Amsterdam Smart City was established.
It certainly makes a difference if instead of someone who is advocating a more conservative approach a city is led by a more freethinking person who is open to new ideas, is incorporating sustainable development guidelines and is taking technological progress into account in his decisions. Ljubljana is asserting itself as a socially responsive, responsible and friendly city for all generations, and we are acutely aware that we have to actively cooperate with diverse stakeholders and their possibly different views to improve our present and our future. In Ljubljana we live together with respect for our differences, and that is why I am especially proud that after almost 50 years the construction of a mosque has finally started, that the LGBT community has its premises at the Ljubljana City Hall and that the city council has welcomed migrants without any votes cast against. Our achievements are the reason we are receiving numerous international awards and recognitions. Consequentially more tourists are coming to Ljubljana, namely, we are recording an increase of almost 20% at annual level, we are receiving requests to organise conferences and forums, many cites want to see our good practices first-hand and learn from us, and we have increased the promotional activities our city abroad. Because of our achievements and the title European Green Capital Ljubljana has evolved into a relevant counterpart and established itself on the world map. I am very pleased with this progress.
I think that what makes the difference are not, at least not primarily the political ideologies. There are different types of smart cities because each culture, each region, each country has its own ways to make technology available to its citizens and in favor of them.
The concept of «smart city» is metaphorical of course. However, it is used because intelligence – a human characteristic – can be extrapolated to cities when they:
1) have a high probability of survival, i.e. are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
2) Can generate welfare to its inhabitants, that is, provide them with better quality of life conditions.
3) They reproduce; this means that thrive, grow, attract talent and capital, and connect among them.
When we talk about a smart city, having advanced ICT provision is not enough. It is necessary that citizens have the necessary tools to take advantage of information. So, if data are opened, the necessary skills are created, culture is created and technology for the development of city problems is integrated. Then we can speak of a smart city, regardless its forms.
We believe that every city management works out their development policy and development plans for the benefit of their citizens, bearing in mind the city’s special needs. The fact that each smart city project has a unique structure does not neccessarily reflect to political differences, it rather can explained by the various development needs.
Each city chooses its own definition of “smart city” and has its own priorities to solve the problems that are similar for all cities such as resource scarcity, climate change, and population growth. The diversity and uniqueness of each city is extremely positive and can occur under very different approaches to the subject of «smart city».
Smart City Wien has its own definition, too. Our ultimate goal is to offer the best quality of life for all citizens in Vienna through the use of comprehensive innovations with maximum resource conservation. The focus is on the people and on social inclusion. Smart City Wien is a city where the citizens enjoy the highest quality of life by using the latest innovations and an efficient resource management.
Non è possibile prendere un modello di smart city e “calarlo” sulla propria città. È necessario costruirlo, in primis, ascoltando le esigenze dei cittadini, dialogando con le realtà pubbliche e private presenti sul territorio e con le realtà del territorio. Resta comunque fondamentale il costante confronto con tutti gli attori che fanno parte del progetto smart city al fine, se necessario, di ritarare il modello.
Trieste sta crescendo e può diventare una delle città più smart d’Italia partendo già da una buona base di servizi, innovazione e progettualità.