With 420 speakers and 675 exhibitors, Barcelona’s Smart City Expo is the largest exhibition about smart cities. More than 18.000 attendees learned about the development of cities and urban areas.
ICT and the Internet of Things (IoT) are the drivers for urban transformation and the backbone of smart cities. ICT is about computers and networks (hardware) and apps (software). IoT is about devices, vehicles and home appliance that are interlinked via internet. An IoT example is the new generation litter-bins with a sensor inside. The sensor informs waste-disposal when the litter-bin is full and need to be emptied.
Smart cities can be defined as an urban area where electronic data collection supply information to improve transport, waste disposal, healthcare, education, governance and other areas to make the city cleaner, safer and more social. In the past the hight of skyscrapers defined the cities prosperity. In the future prosperity is not defined by skyscrapers but by the depth of data and connectivity.
Ugo Valenti (the director of the Smart City Expo) explains it like “We believe that the role that citizens will play in the near futures will be crucial. Top-down governance approaches are gone fo good and we need to shift the relation between city governments and residents taking in one step further. Never before in history has there been so much talent and creativity concentrated in so little space. It is our responsibility to seize this opportunity to seize this opportunity and use all the means to grasp the full potential of these urban powerhouse.”
Urban Development by Joan Clos
To my opinion Joan Clos is one of the most visionary speakers of the Expo. As representative from the United Nation and former Mayor of Barcelona he has clear ideas about developing cities from the 21st century. As Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, (UN-HABITAT) he developed ideas, framework and action plans (the urban agenda) to create sustainable cities. Sustainable cities are capable to solve challenges about climate change, inequalities and poor urbanization. These cities create the capabilities to defend and recover themselves form there weaknesses and risks.
Below you find two useful videos to watch.