The discussion was attended by the Head of the SmartCity.UA initiative, Chairman of the Smart City Committee of the Public Council at the Ministry of Digital Transformation Yuriy Nazarov, and the Commissioner for Technological Innovation, e-Administration and Good Governance of the Barcelona City Council Michael Donaldson
When implementing smart city technologies, it is important and useful to pay attention to the successful experience of other cities in this field. Head of the SmartCity.UA initiative Yuriy Nazarov believes that the experience of the capital of the Spanish Autonomous Community of Catalonia, Barcelona, can be considered one of the most successful in the world, and there are several reasons for this: smart technologies are adjacent to a rich cultural background and tourist attraction.
This was stated by the Head of the SmartCity.UA initiative Yuriy Nazarov during an online discussion on "Smart Barcelona: from a smart city to technological humanism", which took place on May 26.
The discussion was attended by the Head of the SmartCity.UA initiative, Chairman of the Smart City Committee of the Public Council at the Ministry of Digital Transformation Yuriy Nazarov and the Commissioner for Technological Innovation, e-Administration and Good Governance of the Barcelona City Council Michael Donaldson.
“Barcelona is a beautiful city, with a rich historical heritage and a lot of cultural sites. I visited Barcelona many times and was impressed each time. The introduction of smart technologies in the city began in 2012, and we know that Barcelona has gained significant success in this field: the Internet of Things, smart lighting, big-data platforms, electronic services and lots of other smart innovations.
During the Short Talk were discussed topics such as Barcelona after COVID, new initiatives in the fields of innovation, art and quality of life as a constant weapon for attracting tourists and professionals, major events such as the 1992 Olympic Games and the World Mobile Congress, the current profile of the Barcelona city, and what Barcelona can offer for the integration of almost 14 thousand officially living in the city of Ukrainians, the number of which is growing. Nazarov, among other things, noted that he wants to visit the Smart City Expo, which will take place in November 2021 in Barcelona.
Barcelona is developing in two important directions. The first is the development of a new data infrastructure consisting of three components: Sentilo, a platform for collecting data from open-source sensors; CityOS is another open-source platform that analyzes data; service application interface to simplify access to all data. The second direction is data democratization: the platform itself and all data stored on it belong to the city. The data is available to citizens, private companies and other stakeholders, but the city and its residents retain final ownership and ensure proper access, confidentiality, and data protection.
“In light of the fact that in many countries, including Ukraine, represent electric cars and build infrastructure for them, we also do not stay aside: we try to upgrade our public transport, build large open parking lots at the entrance to the city. But the biggest revolution can be considered the fact that in the superblocks of Barcelona, we have restricted traffic for cars. This does not apply to city services, including emergencies, but we try to remove cars from large urban areas so that residents have a place to walk and relax. This allowed the service sector to expand: in recent years, more and more cafes and restaurants have opened in superblocks, which has solved several problems at once: it reduced environmental pollution, and stimulated small and medium-sized businesses, which in turn boosts the city's economy, taxes to the budget, and as a result improved the quality of life of our residents, "- said Donaldson.
“Many coffee shops, restaurants and hotels have been closed due to covid situation. We have learned a lesson: we must diversify our economy. Of course, we are waiting for tourists again with open arms. But now we are developing a program aimed at removing cars from the streets: the expansion of sidewalks, the development of public transport and much more, to return part of the city to its origins, to return it to the citizens.
Because we prefer our residents to be more on the street than in their homes, especially after a pandemic - so that they have the opportunity to walk freely on the streets, relax on the terraces.
It is impossible to predict what the city will look like after the pandemic” says Barcelona City Council spokesman Donaldson, but the city still faces at least two global challenges that will require more than the will of the authorities. “I can hope that the city will be better after COVID than before, but we will have a hard time. We had plans for the next 4 years, and no one could have expected a pandemic to come, and with it a lockdown - if someone said that, they would consider him crazy. But we are living in an era of changes, so I will not be able to answer the question of what the city will be like after the pandemic.
First of all, the city faced two serious challenges during this period: climate change and socio-economic inequality. Smart city technology in this context is, first of all, the principle of "not leaving anyone behind." And if we want to live in a city with a high standard of living, we have to solve these two problems. What Kovid has taught us is that any change happens in a flash, and we need to have a lot of resources and use them, as well as all the people. Such global problems cannot be solved by the city council alone,” said Michael Donaldson.
Major events of the past years have allowed Barcelona to develop, says Donaldson. For example, the 1992 Olympics not only allowed the city to enter the history of sports, but also to change its appearance, and the holding of the Mobile World Congress provided an opportunity to implement advanced digital technologies.
Thanks to the Olympics now we have the infrastructure in place to host such events. And the presence of its football club "Barcelona" helps the recognition of our city outside it. The same can be said about the World Mobile Congress: its holding allows us to implement certain technologies. For example, the launch of 5G has now become possible due to the fact that we currently have an ecosystem ready for this standard. We learn from projects that other cities and countries bring to Barcelona as part of such major events, which opens up a lot of opportunities for us.
As for cultural events, our Primavera Sound festival is known all over the world, which was postponed this year due to a pandemic - it brings together about 50 thousand people from around the world. “At the moment, every fourth person in the city can be considered a native of Barcelona. Many people came here from different parts of Spain and around the world. In this context, those who come here, in order not to get lost in a foreign city, need information.
The technologies we have used give access to this information to anyone. Smart City just allows you to gather all the necessary information in one application or on one platform. After a few years, especially if you have already learned Spanish or Catalan, you will feel as if you have lived here all your life, ” said a representative of the Barcelona City Council.