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

Open Data and Smart City KPIs

recyclingPlant

Photo by notrashproject.com

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

Smart city research highlights

urbanFabricTampere

Tampere urban fabric. worldarchitecture.org

The renowned Finish research instititution VTT has just published Smart city research highlights, an extensive guide to the scientific progress on the field of the smart cities.

Many have tried to define what a smart city is, or should be, and many have failed. The question is kind of resolved by reading through the dozens of projects that researchers in VTT are working at, and by reflecting at the subsequent challenges they are addressing.

Boosting collaborative planning with visualization technology, developing new urban services by citizen-driven co-design, use of gamification to foster mutual learning in healthcare, augmented reality for building maintenance, visual and participative urban planning tools, or ICT supported business in energy positive neighborhoods… are just a few glimpses of a wide array of disciplines that are enlightened by means of VTT’s research efforts. 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