22nd Karlsruhe Dialogues - Speakers
The Self-Actualising City
1. What do you consider to be an ‘intelligent’ city?
Conceptions of a ‘smart’ city are about sensors, data, and apps being used to improve the efficiency of the ways in which cities are run. If you are considering an ‘intelligent’ city, you can take this further by applying Artificial Intelligence to the data in order to anticipate problems and address them before they occur. To me, however, an intelligent city is ultimately a happy one – a city in which everyone has the chance to flourish. Otherwise, what would be the point?
2. In your opinion, what are the most urgent problems that have to be solved on the way to intelligent cities?
We are witnessing an increase in population density in many cities. For example, the population of London is currently at 8 million people (up from 7 million in 1980) and is expected to rise to over 11 million until 2050. The most obvious and pressing challenge this presents is the accommodation of everyone, i.e. housing. However, with that comes a range of attendant challenges, such as water and energy supply, and maintaining (or even improving) mobility. And all these things need to be achieved through new, low-carbon approaches and with due regard to every citizen’s wellbeing. One critical consideration here is that smart city approaches do not merely improve the situation for existing populations but are sufficiently adaptable to accommodate the changes that will come.
3. What are, in your opinion, the most exceptional chances arising with the change towards smart cities?
An essential requirement for a smart city is a smart citizen, i.e. one who has access to the data required to make appropriate decisions on how to live. The level of information and engagement presents the opportunity to rewrite and rebalance the social contract between governments and citizens leading to a substantial civic renewal.