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Smart Cities: New Technologies Building a New Sense of Community – Cristiano Radaelli

rimini-meeting
From the 34th Rimini Meeting

One hundred years ago, one in seven people was living in a city. Today more than 50% of human beings are living in a city and the percentage is constantly growing. Cities are today the most interesting human laboratories and a privileged place to develop a new sense of community. Already today and even more in the future, cities are the favourite place for investments. Therefore, the debate on smart cities is so crucial even considering the potential contribution of technology to city development.

What does city mean? Giovanni Botero, an Italian philosopher of the Renaissance, claims that a city is not the size of the location or the inner space within the walls, but rather the people deciding to live together pursuing their happiness. I fully embrace his idea. We must start from the human beings to build the cities of the future. It is up to the citizens deciding which community they desire to have and which role give to it.

A city exists only if there is work: to have a prosperous and growing city, we need to plan the activities to be performed, how to integrate them in the environment, how to provide infrastructures sustaining its competitiveness, how to develop competencies to make its community a winning one. Smart cities are not a technological challenge, they are a new complex ecosystem of social development. Urban architecture and integration of the landscape are the starting point. Technology and infrastructures have to be built as a backbone to grant the best utilization of all social spaces, which fosters innovative services provided to citizens and tourists.

In the last decades, cities have been developing following a concept of space segregation: area for industrial activities, residential, green, entertainment. The evolution of technology and the utilization of internet have completely overwhelmed this approach. Within positively evolving cities that are, new communities are integrating in the same environment cultural, manufacturing, entertainment and commerce activities, enabling constructive synergic effects among these activities. Continuous access from every location to the information becomes an additional resource for a new social way of living, where citizens are at the same time users and makers.

Citizens will be able to interact with city government and management, with great results on business, cultural and economic development together with the achievement of a higher level of sustainability. Transparency of political activities and public administration becomes in this environment an essential and unavoidable element, at the same time leading to a higher efficiency and better cost control of the public administration.

Upstanding cities already started a transformation path which includes a dramatic growth of infrastructures, electronics (fiber and Wi-Fi), but also public transportation (including cycling), energy distribution, roads viability, everything organically inserted in the urban environment, including area for social activities and “smart green”, which means parks and gardens technologically and socially outfitted.

In the last 50 years, the world moved from an economy based on production of goods to an economy based on innovation and knowledge. Cities, which have been able to start communities based on the concepts explained above, are now enjoying a stronger economy, are attracting more and more high level people and consequently are getting even stronger. Cities that have not been able to make the right steps are far from attracting innovators, new business and new investments. They are therefore suffering for an economy becoming every day weaker.

The key element for the success of the city in the future is the human being: cities that are able to attract people passionate in knowledge, innovation and creation have a brilliant future ahead.

Cristiano Radaelli is President  of ANITEC and Vice-President of Confindustria Digitale. He is also Member of the Executive Board of Digital Europe.

Watch the full talk on Smart Cities from the 34th Rimini Meeting in Italian:

About Cristiano Radaelli

Cristiano Radaelli
Cristiano Radaelli, presidente ANITEC e vicepresidente Confindustria Digitale. Member of the Executive Board of Digital Europe.

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