Smarter Citizens for Smarter Cities with Roberto Saracco

Saracco challenges the idea of a smart city right from the start of the presentation stating that cities will never be smart cities. Smart is not a destination, but a way of being; therefore, cities will become smarter cities, not smart cities. When a city is doing well, it attracts more people forcing the city to adapt its practices to use existing capacity and resources to meet the needs of the growing population and when it does that well it is becoming a smarter city.

Cities are made up of hard and soft infrastructures. With a hard infrastructure such as a trash bin, you need soft infrastructures to organize the logistics of getting it emptied. These infrastructures are the building blocks of the city – the smarter the infrastructures, the smarter the city. Now implementing complex infrastructures into an existing city can be very challenging, so you might wonder why not just create a new city from the ground up. This has been tried - Masdar and Songdu were built from the ground up, but they didn’t attract people. The cities were missing the culture and authenticity of a real city, something that can’t be made with technology.

Therefore, existing cities must change to adapt the needs of citizens. With citizen awareness and participation, economic support and policy changes, the necessary hard and soft infrastructures can be put into place to make cities smarter.


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