The magic triangle? What Smart Cities try to achieve

September 3, 2020 10:15 - 11:45

Location: Room 27A

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The magic triangle? What Smart Cities try to achieve Cities are in the focus of the current big transition. For the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. Cities have shown that they are the places for transformative technological and cultural innovations as well as for creativity and new forms of social movements. The increasing carbon concentration and rising temperatures are the greatest challenges we currently face. Cities are the places to win or lose the fight for a sustainable future. Across Europe and globally Smart City strategies and support approaches combine technological and social innovations: Regarding technologies, cities attract entrepreneurs, talents and corporate R+D centres. Corporations offer large-scale technical and business solutions for urban systems in fields like energy, transport or communications. Cities are in support as they want to be strong business locations and have functioning infrastructures.  Regarding social innovations, they are arenas for grass-root movements, public regulation and other demand-side actions. Cities are in support to guarantee a “good life” for their citizens. Many urban strategies and programmes try to find a synthesis between both: Tthe "magic triangle” therefore combines bottom-up and top-down policies, participatory change and large-scale (digital) interventions. Carbon reduction, technological innovation and social inclusion can be reconciled…can they? At the same time we witness a critical debate, pointing at trade-offs and a next wave of large-scale solutions with (un-)foreseeable downsides. The panel will present evidence and different approaches. Together with the audience it will be discussed whether a synthesis is possible, or the “magic” is reduced to magical thinking.

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