Cities as innovation platforms

MCSInterview for the Master of City Sciences at Politechnic University of Madrid (UPM), whose original content can be found here.

Before becoming a professor, Daniel Sarasa (born 1972) was a student at MCS, so he can give us both perspectives about the master’s degree. He is Smart City Program Manager at Zaragoza City Hall and co-author of “Zaragozá’s Open Government Strategy 2012-2015. Towards a Smart Citizenship”. Moreover, he is co-editor and co-founder of Continue reading


Questions for a new generation of city scientists

MCSOn 28th, October 2015 we were honored to lecture at the opening session of 2015-2016 edition of the Master of City Sciences at Politechnic University of Madrid, sharing our latest thoughts and experiencies on urban innovation with students and staff.

Everything starts by Jaime Lerner’s statement about cities as the great solution, fostering progress in the fields of economics, sustainability, quality of life, and innovation.

The desire to climb up the prosperity ladder has been the main driving force that keeps attracting people to cities. That only means that cities have always been perceived as extremely ‘valuable’ by people. Now… can we aspire to quantify the value of cities? In the lecture, we presented several works by prominent city scientists, as well as subsequent laws that cast some light into this question, and then move to another important subject: how can we reconfigure cities to maximize that value? Continue reading


The city as an innovation platform. #ICCS2015, Shanghai.


On 5th, June 2015 we spoke at the ‘International City Sciences Conference’ in Tongji University at Shanghai (China). The event gathered technologists, architects, policy makers and urban planners on deciphering how ‘New infrastructures for future cities’ could be planned, built and operated in these times of increasing uncertainty and breathtaking changes.

From the beginning of urbanization to the end of the 20th century, the historical ability of cities to adapt its form and function to the changing needs of people have been founded on a close relationship between urban planning and infrastructures. Traditionally servicing the purposes of urban planners, the role of infrastructures in cities is changing in this digital era. Digital infrastructures have contributed to the intentions of urban planners to revitalize city downtowns, recovering them as centers of production. Paradoxically, some of those digital entrepreneurs today run Internet giants like Google, Über, AirBnB or Amazon, and are launching innovative services at a much quicker pace than city authorities can regulate them. They are shaping, for good or bad, urban life. Continue reading


If you were the Mayor of Barcelona, what would you do with the MWC?

mcimpact<- Previous. ‘Your mayor for president’ (2/3). If mayors ruled the world.

You are reading the last post of a series “Your Mayor for President”, whose rough logic goes like this: We live in the era of the cities, so mayors are increasingly significant. On the other hand, austerity policies in Europe have provoked an earthquake in recent municipal Spanish elections, rising former 15M protesters very close to take the Mayor seat in Madrid, Barcelona or Zaragoza, three of the main Spanish cities. Since the political structures supporting Manuela Carmena (Madrid), Ada Colau (Barcelona) or Pedro Santisteve (Zaragoza) are the assemblies, or ‘circles’, we can infer that active citizens will more than ever influence the ‘big’ decisions. So, up to a certain point, ‘you’, reader, are increasingly significant in the global sphere. Now that it’s up to you to decide how you run innovation in, say… Barcelona, what do we do with the Mobile World Congress? Continue reading


How to face globalization (final). Open source cities

IMG-20141031-WA0004~2~2At the beginning of this series we treated the subject of how a new politics is blossoming in cities in response to the “austerity years”. We discussed afterwards some of the traits of globalization, such as technification or the deep changes on the labor market, and what effects those traits can have on our societies. We have also outlined some strategies that cities may have to turn those challenges into local opportunities, such as nurturing local talent, or re-industrializing cities through urban manufacturing and “makers”. Let’s close the loop by talking about open source cities. Continue reading