“Quality of life and sustainability, drivers of change”

Interview with Philip Bell, content director of Nordic Smart Cities

Nordic Smart Cities has already consolidated itself as the reference event in a sensitive and innovative area in the smart world. This year for the first time he leaves Sweden and on March 19 the conference will take place in Copenhagen.

Philip Bell, content director of Nordic Smart Cities explains, in a few questions, the complicity that exists between cities and experts that will attend this day.

TSCJ.- How can smart cities find new ways to connect with citizens?

PB.- Technology offers cities an opportunity to be able to connect & interact with its citizens in ways they have not done so before, but technology should only ever be an enabler. Cities must focus on new ways to get citizens involved in future planning - when done so properly it can mean less resistance to change & improved outcomes for all stakeholders.

TSCJ.- The Nordic region is one of the most advanced when it comes to smart cities, in which areas are the cities ahead of the average?

PB.- There is a large focus on sustainability across the region, being in the North the impact of climate change is being seen on a year on year basis - I believe that this more than anything is driving city leaders to focus on creating smart & more sustainable cities. By prioritizing projects that really impact on the quality of life for citizens city leaders have been able to get citizens to embrace change and get involved in to aggressive carbon reduction plans.

TSCJ.-. Why did you choose Copenhagen as the venue for Nordic Smart Cities?

PB.- The event has in previous years been in Stockholm & Malmö, but for 2020 we decided that Copenhagen would be the perfect location. It is one of the smartest cities in the world and the city has set the most aggressive carbon reduction plan in Europe, so it felt like a natural fit. The response has been positive from speakers & attendees - we look forward to an engaging & inspiring event.

TSCJ.- Education, respect, knowledge and transparency are not exactly technological terms. Do they also have a place in the smart world?

PB.- Yes, of course. If local leaders attempt to build smarter cities without considering these factors then a lot of projects will fail. For example, as cities digitalize their communications systems it is vitally important that they respect those that were not born and raised in a digital world. Although the new digital systems may be more accessible to many, they can isolate others - it is vital that these citizens are educated on the new systems so that they feel the benefit. This is just one example, but there are many.

TSCJ.- Environment, mobility, big and open data, governance, smart grids...is a Smart City a technological laboratory or an organization to improve the quality of life for citizens?

PB.- Any development, whether large or small must focus on the citizens and what it delivers for them. City leaders get their power from the people and it is vitally important that this is respected at all times. Technology should never be implemented for the sake of calling you city "smart" or making your city cool - in fact that is a pretty dumb way to approach things. As I mentioned earlier, technology is the enabler, but quality of life & sustainability are the drivers of the change.

TSCJ.- Tell me, in four numbers, what is Nordic Smart Cities

PB.- 55+ Speakers - 4 Stages - 750+ Minutes of Content = 1 Brighter Future

You can find out more information about Nordic Smart Cities on: https://www.nordicsmartcities.com/

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