Do You Live in an Intelligent City?

The term “smart city” is known to everyone. The question, however, is: How do we define what a smart city really refers to? And if there are smart cities, does it subsequently mean we also have “stupid” ones? According to Peter Bjørn Larsen of the Danish consultancy Smart City Insights, the simple answer is yes, we have.

Four types of cities

At the ITAPA 2019 autumn congress in the Smart Cities panel, Larsen distinguished four basic categories of cities. There are ones that follow every new trend, conservative cities, stupid cities and, of course, smart cities. These are the ones we focus on as they do better in areas such as resource management, investment in technology, and collaboration with commercial and academic sectors. In his presentation, Larsen mentioned Copenhagen as an example of an intelligent solution. Similarly to many Slovak cities, in Copenhagen too there have been floods after every major rainfall in recent years. How did the Danes approach this problem? First they had to solve the basic questions. How to retain rainwater? Where to collect it and release it? When they found the answers to these questions, the solution to the problem was easy to be found. On the sidewalks in the city, they built grids through which water flows into the sensor tank. The sensor is used to indicate the tank filling status. The water from these rain tanks can then be used, for example, to irrigate urban greenery. You can hear the whole presentation of Petr Bjørn Larsen, Smart City in practice here.

How can Tel Aviv inspire us?

At the Spring ITAPA 2020 the topic of smart cities will be also covered by Liora Shechter, the CIO of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv and the Chair of the Israeli Government Forum.  Israel, the country with the highest number of startups per capita is known for its welcoming approach to digital innovations. Is the experience of the city located in a different continent, with a different historical tradition and other topical problems, relevant to municipalities in Slovakia? Although many starting points are different from those Slovak cities have, one thing remains the same. The city and its citizens work together to build their future and must communicate with each other in order to be successful. The digital transformation of cities is not just traffic optimization, parking policy and intelligent traffic lights. The main emphasis is on citizens' participation. This is what the DigiTel project in Tel Aviv stands for. The main goal of DigiTel is to engage, involve and connect the citizens of the city with the municipality. Every citizen or tourist can create a unique digital profile at the registration points. The platform takes into account personal preferences as well as location. After registration, it has at its disposal the services of the municipal government available anywhere and anytime, tailored to its needs and preferences, which he/she assigned at registration. For example, he/she may be notified of restrictions on the way he normally goes or the impending end of the child's registration. However, the DigiTel platform works in both directions. For example, people use it to report obstacles on the road.

Do not miss the presentation of Liora Schechter, who will present how Tel Aviv is transformed into a city of the future and how it can inspire Slovak cities. The Cities of the Future workshop is planned for June 4, 2020. Register here.


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