”The city of the future must be driven by people’s needs for sustainable and liveable cities. This is the heart of the smart city blue print. We must build, test, and scale with people”
This is a key message at Nordic Edge Conference and Expo, which takes place in Stavanger, Norway 24 – 26 September, 2019. This year, in a strategic partnership with Nordic Edge and Århus Universitet, Ramboll will be contributing with a white paper that takes a hard look at how citizens in the largest cities across four Nordic countries experience the smart city solutions, whether they are aware of these, and their willingness to contribute to the scaling of smart city solutions. The white paper will be launched during the conference, and Neel Strøbæk, Senior Group Director, will be delivering a key note on some of the key findings.
“Our study has showed that across the Nordics, only 17% of citizens are aware of the smart solutions that are available in their cities – Finland is the only country where this awareness is higher, and every third citizen is aware of solutions that can be labelled smart. This means that the important scaling of solutions that ideally takes place in close collaboration with citizens is at risk”, says Neel Strøbæk.
The Nordic Edge conference brings together city representatives from across Europe and the world on the common theme of Smart Urban development, and how this is carried out for the benefit of the people who live in the cities. This year, the overall connecting conference theme is: ’Life, Actually’, suggesting a focus on liveability and tying it to insights from urban citizens. The white paper that Nordic Edge, Århus Universitet and Ramboll will publish has taken its cue from this.
The good news is that nearly 78% of Nordic citizens want to contribute and would be willing to participate in digital solutions to improve a public service.
Neel Strøbæk sees a strong need for strengthening the people perspective of designing the smart city: “We need a broad-based involvement strategy to meet the wishes of different citizens. Both classical tools such as surveys and town hall meetings are relevant, as are innovative approaches such as involvement through digital applications, innovation labs and specific local and citywide action.
Many local citizens are already active in local groups where they discuss issues that they think are important in their neighbourhood. This is a new vein of data that can contribute to the real smart and liveable city.”
Finally, Neel Strøbæk points to an important element in the Smart Cities discussion: “we need smart solutions to create liveable cities; there is a huge potential that we cannot ignore when it comes to safety, efficiency, and sustainability.