Inteligencia colectiva, datos urbanos y co-creación

La semana pasada fuimos invitados por la organización de Smart City Expo Latam a compartir en Puebla (México) nuestra visión y experiencia acerca de cómo conectar la inteligencia colectiva al diseño de ciudad, mediante los datos urbanos y las dinámicas de co-creación de nuevos servicios y espacios públicos.

La historia que compartimos fue la siguiente:

Nuestra ciudad, Zaragoza, de 700.000 habitantes, es una ciudad media, quinta de España en población, con más de 2.000 años de historia. Hemos conocido guerras, sitios, pestes y hambrunas. A pesar de la reciente crisis, nunca nos ha ido tan bien como hasta ahora. El gran salto demográfico de Zaragoza se produjo en dos fases: en los años 60 gracias a la emigración interior y, a principios del siglo XXI gracias a la emigración exterior, en buena medida procedente de Latinoamérica. La inmensa mayoría de los que vinieron a Zaragoza lo hicieron por un sueño: prosperidad. Idénticos sueños que en el resto de ciudades a lo largo y ancho del globo.

Las ciudades se han portado razonablemente bien con los que vinieron del campo o del otro lado del mar en busca de oportunidades, a juzgar por la evolución de la esperanza de vida global y el nivel de urbanización, dos magnitudes que avanzan en paralelo desde principios del siglo XX. A grandes rasgos, pues, podemos decir que las ciudades han resultado un gran invento. Un gran invento no exento de imperfecciones, o bugs. Muchos de estos bugs son producto de la concentración demográfica, y otros derivan de una inadecuada planificación urbanística. Las ciudades, de una u otra manera, se las han ido arreglando para encontrar soluciones a medida que se les han ido planteando problemas. Las infraestructuras y servicios que hoy tenemos son el producto más visible de estas innovaciones. Lo que hoy llamamos comúnmente smart city es, pura y llanamente, el uso de medios digitales para resolver algunos de estos problemas. Sigue leyendo


Citykeys: guidelines to measure our progress to a smarter future

During the last 2 years, we have been lucky enough to be part of an outstanding team: the Citykeys team. Lots of learning and thinking around tricky issues: what a smart city is (no one really knows), what smart city rankings should mean, how can we measure urban innovation or our progress towards a smarter urban future.

I write these lines in rainy Brussels, on the day after meeting with the European Comission’s reviewers, the discussions still fresh, a glimpse of nostalgia (the sense of an ending), a sort of rewarding feeling: that maybe our contribution may have had some impact in future European innovation policies.

This article is meant to be a quick guidelines into some of the project results, but it also contains personal reflections, in the form of a logbook, on the ample subjects covered by the project. Sigue leyendo


Zaragoza Sources the Code to Citizen Co-Creation


Co-creation workshop of the open mobility challenge “Bicisur”

Back in 2003, a group of local geeks and open source advocates met with Zaragoza’s future mayor Juan Alberto Belloch who, after being the last all-mighty minister of Justice and Interior in the last of prime minister Felipe González’s cabinet, was running for office for his second term. After a short immersion in the open source community, Belloch “fell instantly in love” with Linux philosophy and quickly made open source-based innovation one of the axes of his political campaign. His plans included turning the northeastern capital of the Spanish Aragón into the “Redmond of the European free software world,” for which purpose his team projected a 102-hectare innovation district, a city-wide free public wireless network and an ambitious campaign of digital literacy, with the city hall leading and paving the way by becoming one of the most advanced European administration in systems migration towards open source software. In an article appeared in Wired in May 2003 he declared “this open source battle might not be easy, but ‘open’ is the way it must be.” Sigue leyendo


Retención de datos y privacidad

track-and-treasureRecientemente Telefonica ha anunciado una plataforma para recoger todos los datos que se comparten con los OTT *
La plataforma mostrará los datos compartidos por usuarios, siguiendo sus propias normas de configuración, por ejemplo, la localización, sensores del teléfono, links de navegación, etc.
Parece ser que esta plataforma busca tener una posición de fuerza ante las compañías en una situación de beneficios menguantes y competencia creciente. Las OTT ofrecen más servicios, los usuarios requieren más, la inversión en redes la soporta el operador, pero el grueso de los beneficios se los lleva la OTT. Sigue leyendo


Open Data and Smart City KPIs


Photo by

There are many initiatives to measure the “smartness” of cities and a jungle of smart city indexes that establish annual city comparisons. Open data can help fulfill the transparency gap in this field.

Sustainability, prosperity or democracy are three of the main challenges of today’s societies. Societies that are, essentially, urban, therefore making the study of urban data one of the most promising fields of progress nowadays. Of course, many of the answers to the challenges above can be found in cities. After many decades of mistrust, today most policy makers know that cities are great problem-solving tools. In fact, with near 60% of the world population inhabiting urban soil, there is little hope for the general progress of mankind outside the three pillars of sustainable, participatory and prosperous urban development.

A fourth element, innovation, adds to the former three to stand for the aforementioned process of problem-solving cycle in which cities are embarked. Sigue leyendo


Sharing big data to deploy smart energy services

londonEnergyBusesBNOn Jan, 29th 2015 we spoke at the “Smart energy UK & Europe Summit” in London, where we had the chance to discuss and develop the idea of advancing towards a “data sharing economy” at the urban ecosystem. What we were presenting, basically, is how a new kind of organizational relationship between urban players could eventually lead both to the creation of new social, scientific and economic value at the local scale, and to the development of new business prospects in those industries willing to play the game.

Cities have faced challenges in history with innovative ways of transforming the materials at their reach into innovative solutions. Whether we are talking about limestone, wood, brass, concrete, copper, or electrons, engineers have effectively used technology to provide security, access to drinkable water, sanitation, wired communications, or energy to households and people. Today, data is the new material upon which we can continue to develop innovative solutions to deal with the “bugs” or impracticalities (in Jane Jacobs’ words) of urban life. Sigue leyendo


Citykeys: towards a unified city metrics

copenhagenOn November 6th, 2015 we were invited to represent the Citykeys consortium at the Eurocities Annual Conference in Living Cities, in Copenhagen, where we chaired one of the speednetworking round tables on the perilious subject of “KPI’s and smart cities”.

On the previous days, Zaragoza City Council had hosted a workshop in Brussels that gathered representatives from EU, standardization bodies, H2020 lighthouse projects and cities to discuss a common proposal for smart city indicators across Europe. The need for such a common framework increases proportionally to the number of different smart city rankings, smart city definitions and smart city projects launched by the EU, each of it working again and again on its own set of indicators. Sigue leyendo