#11 Glasgow: "Sustainability is Everybody's Job, Everyday"

Episode 11 July 12, 2022 00:31:28
#11 Glasgow: "Sustainability is Everybody's Job, Everyday"
Smart in the City – The BABLE Podcast
#11 Glasgow: "Sustainability is Everybody's Job, Everyday"

Jul 12 2022 | 00:31:28

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Hosted By

Tamlyn Shimizu

Show Notes

Our next stop on this journey is in the city of Glasgow, Scotland with Gavin Slater, Head of Sustainability at the Glasgow City Council, who discussed sustainability, Climate Plan, innovation districts and urban planning with us.

Glasgow is part of the Urbact Global Goals for Cities Network, working to accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in 19 cities of the EU, through peer learning and integrated action planning.

 

Is your company a leader in sustainability, innovation, or a key player in the Smart City field? Join us for BABLE's Innovation Market Watch!

 

Overview of the episode:

01:58 - Teaser: is it true that the Glasgow City Chambers have more marble than the Vatican?

03:00 - Gavin Slater's professional background: "always trying to make a real difference from a public sector point of view"

04:48 - How does Gavin sees the impacts following COP26?

06:30 - What is sustainability?

08:00 - Focus on Glasgow's Climate Plan

09:25 - What is the biggest hurdle?

11:45 - How can you work in a political sphere where politicians are concerned about their ongoing position?

15:20 - What issues do you face when working with the private sector?

16:46 - The Climate Neutral Innovation District in the city centre of Glasgow

20:18 - Who are the stakeholders and how are they cohesively involved?

23:10 - What is the key to stop planning and start implementing?

27:35 - Roll with the Punchesour guest answers "this or that" questions

29:42 -  Ending Question: To you, what is a Smart City?

 

Liked our show? Remember to rate it! Want to join us for an episode? Contact our host Tamlyn Shimizu.

And for more insights, join our Smart City Community!

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Gavin Slater 00:00:00 But people are a challenge. Behaviorals are a challenge. Convenience is a challenge. You know, sustainability is not easy, it's not cheap. Um, and we need to take people on that journey with us. And we are committed as a city to being, to ensuring a, just transition. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:00:23 Welcome to Smart in the City - The BABLE Podcast, I am your host Tamlyn Shimizu, and really at BABLE, we aim to connect the players in the smart city industry with high quality information and ideas through our platform and services. This podcast is really an extension of this goal and mission to drive the change for a better urban life. Before we get started, I wanted to inform all you lovely listeners about a great opportunity. BABLE has now opened applications for the innovation market watch for 2023. So top smart city companies, you are invited to apply before the 29th of July. And of course it's free to apply as well. So just follow the link in the show notes now onto the regular programming. So today I have the absolute pleasure to come to you on this journey from the exciting and inspiring city of Glasgow in Scotland. And while it is be here in Glasgow, a pleasure is more of a pleasure is to sit down with Gavin Slater himself, who is the head of sustainability at Glasgow city council. S welcome onto the show, Gavin. Gavin Slater 00:01:37 Thanks very much, thanks for having me. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:38 Yeah, our pleasure. I think I've set pleasure way too many times. <laugh> already starting off, but really it's um, we're sitting here in the magnificent, uh, Glasgow city chambers. Um, yeah, thanks so much. And, uh, so just to get us started off a bit, uh, warmed up. So to say, I, I was wondering, so, uh, here in city chambers, I heard that, um, it supposedly has more marble than the Vatican. Is that true? Gavin Slater 00:02:06 Yeah, I believe that's true. It was built in the 18 hundreds, um, by the merchants that were bringing lots of goods into the city. Um, and yeah, I believe that's true. There's more marble than the Vatican. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:17 It's it's a beautiful building. Um, and can you tell me any other, maybe interesting unrelated if, if you want facts about Glasgow? Gavin Slater 00:02:26 Oh, well, there are so many, um, perhaps one worth mention is the room that you're sitting in. Um, the wallpaper is actually gold leaf that is properly gold. It's not just wallpaper, so yeah, it's an incredible building and we're very, very lucky, um, to work here. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:41 Yeah. Uh, I'm, I'm a bit afraid I'm going to like fall and spill coffee on the walls or something. Now <laugh> Gavin Slater 00:02:48 Now we've had, we've had floods and we've had all sorts of broken pipes and different things happen, but the building's still standing, so you'd be OK. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:54 It's a strong one. Yeah. Yeah. Just like Glasgow. Gavin Slater 00:02:57 That's it. It's resilient. Yeah. Yeah. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:59 <laugh> good. Good. Um, yeah, so I, I would like to first ask you a bit, you've worked with the council for quite some time now. Um, can you tell me a bit about your background and really, how has it led you here? Gavin Slater 00:03:13 Yeah, I've been with classical city council for 13 years now. Um, which is the longest that I've been anywhere in my career. <laugh> um, so I studied environmental science at university. Um, and then when I finished that I spent a good few years in consultancy. Um, but I always really wanted to get involved in sort of policy and, and trying to make a real difference, um, from a, from a public sector point of view, really not to be operating in the private sector and worried most concerned about profit, but actually be concerned about doing the right thing. So I fortunately managed to land a position as an energy officer at Glasgow city council in 2009. Um, and at that time energy's real concern then was about the cost of energy and trying to reduce the costs. And over time I've worked through that position as an energy officer. Gavin Slater 00:04:02 And then I took over the carbon management team. So it was broader remit about the management of our carbon emissions and the city council. Um, and then I got involved in a, uh, an innovate UK funded project, a 24 million pound project called future city Glasgow, which was all about trying to look at data and big data and smart tools to try and make Glasgow a smart city. Um, and after that I was involved in evaluating whether or not an energy services company would be something the city needed before eventually taking over the sort of city energy side, and then ultimately head of sustainability, um, where have been since just over two years now, and then fortunately took that position and then run up to COP26 and was very lucky to be quite involved with COP26 as well. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:04:47 Yeah. Good. And, um, so you mentioned COP26 and I'm kind of going off script here with saying, um, how do you see the impact of COP26 now coming out of that? And, um, yeah. Can you comment to that? Of course there's criticism on, on all sides about, you know, was it really impactful? What can we do to make these, um, events more impactful? Do you have any insights on that? Gavin Slater 00:05:10 Yeah, I, I think, um, locally it had a massive impact, um, in the run up to COP26, sustainability was a bit of a niche subject. Um, and we fought hard to, to get the message across, but it's been a subject that's been close to Glasgow's heart for a long time. We started sustainable Glasgow in 2010. So we've, we've been on that mission, but it has been still a bit of a niche subject when COP26 came. It really exploded. Um, the net zero agenda really exploded, and now we are recruiting for seven new members of staff. We're building the team up, we've got a whole new governance system in place within the council to make Glasgow net zero by 2030. Um, and I would say the expectation has risen exponentially. Um, it's quite difficult to deal with actually that sort of raised level of expectation. And that's been really positive. Um, on the flip side, as you say, COP26, perhaps didn't go as far as we might have wanted globally. Um, we did get the Glasgow pact and there is some good stuff in there. Um, but yeah, I think we, you know, we continue on this journey. We've got COP27 coming and we keep pushing ahead and we'll make progress, but I think everyone agrees. We need to be making more progress at more pace. So, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:06:26 Yeah. Yeah. Great. That's thank you for sharing those insights. And I guess also it leads me to the question, what is sustainability? Gavin Slater 00:06:34 Yeah. Well, as sustainability, I think sustainability gets on a new name every couple of years. Is it sustainability? Is it carbon? Is it resilience? Is it, you know, net zero. Um, and I think it's never really changed in terms of the concerns about being about the environment, about being social people. And, um, and ultimately we are still trying to do the same things. We're trying to reduce our carbon. We're doing a lot of work, both in mitigation and adaptation. So we do a lot of projects, you know, that involve renewables or renewable heat or, or whatever it might be building, um, retrofit, but we're also doing a lot of work on things like the urban heat island effect, um, flood water management, because, you know, one of the biggest risks from climate change to a city like Glasgow is more rainfall and more flooding. So, um, we've, we've recently taken on a bit of a new mantra in Glasgow and that is that sustainability is everybody's job every day. And I think that's the real big change for us is that what we're trying to achieve hasn't changed, but everybody now realizes that they have a role that whether that's in building management quite obviously, or whether it's transport or whether it's procurement or whether it's social work, whatever it might be, every aspect of their job has a potential impact on our sustainability. So it's really now beginning to impact all aspects of working life in Glasgow and living in Glasgow and, you know, being part of the city. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:07:55 Yeah. Thanks for that. And I guess, um, that leads me into, can you talk a bit about the focus of your work? Um, I know that you've, uh, you have a climate plan, um, something along those lines, is that your focus or what, what is really the focus of your work? Gavin Slater 00:08:11 Yeah, so the, the, the focus of our work is the climate plan. We perhaps, um, unfortunately have a large number of plans and policies in strategies in Glasgow. Um, and what I'm trying to do is make everything set underneath the umbrella of the climate plan. So ultimately when we started sustainable Glasgow in 2010, our target was to reduce our emissions by 30% by 2020, um, by 2019, which is our last few year of data, we had reduced by over 41%. So massively exceed goals and new target is to be net zero carbon by 2030. And that is our over, um, um, overarching ambition. But underneath that, we have lots of different things like our plastic reduction strategy, our circular economy roadmap, our adaptation plan, many, many plans and policies, our local heat and energy efficiency strategy, all of which take on more detailed analysis or detailed action in relation to those specific things. But all of which set within that ambition of being net zero carbon by 2030. So ultimately that's our that's our overriding ambition is to, to reach that target. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:24 What's the biggest hurdle? Gavin Slater 00:09:26 There isn't just one <laugh>. There are so many big hurdles. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:29 That's the biggest hurdle that there are so many hurdles. Um, Gavin Slater 00:09:32 I mean, I think, yeah, there are, there are so many hurdles it's we have, we have been given estimations that to make class one, net zero is somewhere in the region between four and 29 billion pounds. So, so money's a big issue and it's not the availability of money per se, it's access to that money. So there is lots of private capital out in the world, but it's difficult for us to develop that and work on it, to get access to that funding. Um, another challenge is, is just the sheer pace that we need to go at the kind of infrastructure that we need to make. Um, it's is transformational. So Glasgow by and large is heated through gas, which is not something that we want to continue. We want to convert to renewable district heating networks, but those don't get built in a day. So, you know, they they'll take years to build themselves and, and, you know, another challenge as well. Gavin Slater 00:10:25 And I don't mean this to sound negative about people, but people are a challenge. Behaviors are a challenge. Convenience is a challenge. You know, sustainability is not easy, it's not cheap. Um, and we need to take people on that journey with us, and we are committed as a city to being to ensuring just transition. So that's key. You hear that a lot from Glasgow politicians, and it's a very key tenant in what we're trying to do. We can't leave anyone behind those people who need the most are the ones most affected by climate change. So we have to make sure that those people come with us on that journey and that we take care of them and that they get there because ultimately to become net zero is gonna cost money. It's gonna be difficult. It's gonna take effort. So we need to make sure that they're helped along that journey as well. So those are just a few of the, the challenges that we face, but we honestly believe that they're not insurmountable. That just takes a lot of work. Um, a lot of collaboration and a lot of commitment to get there. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:11:23 Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I was just actually at the Urban Future conference, um, in housing book and I heard, uh, a lot of frustration, um, from a lot of practitioners in city councils along this, um, kind of polling from different ways, right. From politicians in different ways. Have you found in your years of experience some way of like overcoming this kind of on the political level, maybe politicians have different goals or they want to be reelected for example. And they're worried about this perception from the people side. Um, have you, have you come across any ways to kind of reconcile that and work better together? Gavin Slater 00:12:07 Yeah. I mean, working in a political sphere, that's something you can't avoid. Yeah. So politicians work within a, a, a specific life cycle, um, and it's understandable that they concern themselves with their ongoing position. Um, for us, it's really down to making as compelling a case for change as possible. And I think when you look back to 2019, when we declared the state of climate and ecological emergency that had cross party support, when we set up the climate plan that had cross party support. So by and large, in Glasgow, politically there is full support for our agenda. That doesn't however mean that when we come up with specific actions, that there can be nuances on those actions, depending on the party that we are speaking to. And I guess in some ways that reflects just normal people as well. Everybody has their own agenda. Everybody has their own concerns and it's for us to do the best that we can to find that compromise somewhere without compromising the environment, but trying to achieve what we want to achieve. Gavin Slater 00:13:14 So, um, we have been through lots of negotiations with politicians. We try to work as closely with them as we can and inform them as much as possible and the reasons why we're making suggestions, why we're making the proposals that we are. And that doesn't mean that we always get it right. But I think it is about that ongoing sort of dialogue and, and, and keeping, um, that almost co-creative approach to it. Yeah. So, um, as I say, we are, we are fortunate in that we, we mostly have support for what we are trying to do, but at the same time, you know, we, we do meet tensions with things like job creation and, you know, economic boosts that maybe don't, don't fit entirely with our agenda. And what we are trying to do is find a way to splice those things together. So, you know, we're developing a green economy and a green new deal for Glasgow and looking at how that sustainable net zero future still generates skills and jobs and opportunities. Gavin Slater 00:14:10 And, and I, I hesitate to use the word but growth mm-hmm <affirmative>, but a sustainable growth, you know, something that, that makes sure that there are opportunities for the citizens of Glasgow without consuming more materials than we need and doing more damage than we need to the environment. So it's really about dialogue. It's a constant dialogue and, and, you know, we can get so far and then the political makeup of the council might change and we have to rethink what we're doing. And yeah, I, I know I can appreciate the frustration that comes with that as offices, but that's whole job. That's what we have to do. So it's, um, it's a long, a long period of negotiation. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:14:46 You have a tough job Gavin Slater 00:14:48 <laugh> I don't think I have tough job. I think I have a great job. I think I have a chance to speak to people and help make those changes. And, um, that's a, that's a fortunate position to be in, you know, it's, and sometimes it's tough sometimes it's great, you know, so you just take each day as it comes and try and, and make those differences, but I would never claim to have a tough job. I think I'm fortunate. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:15:08 Yeah. Good. Um, and I also had another thought because when you were speaking, cuz you mentioned you wanted to get away from this kind of the profit industry of the private sector. And um, now you have to work quite collaboratively with the private sector and a lot of these issues. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, how can you do that better and what, you know, what issues do you face? Gavin Slater 00:15:29 Yeah, I mean, I think when, when I personally wanted to get away from that profit sort of position, I was a lot younger. I had a lot more here, um, for the listeners I'm bald. Um, but now I appreciate the value of the private sector and I appreciate their purpose and why they do have to make a profit. And, you know, the work that we are doing currently, um, around district, he, for example, is about how we work with the private sector and how we set up the conditions in the city that allow the private sector to come in as the experts, because we are not the experts. We are not, um, set up to build, operate, manage, and maintain district team networks. But there are many private sector operators, operators out there who are, and we have to work with them and they need to make a profit. That's ultimately what they have to do. And there are opportunities for them to make that profit and serve the citizens of Glasgow without that. So we can set up conditions around concessions and contracts that allow them that opportunity to make a profit commercially with the, the other private sector operators, but maybe limit any profit that they could make from domestic customers. So it's again about finding that compromise. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:16:44 Yeah. Yeah. That's a, that's a good point. And I've also heard about this, um, innovation district. I, what, what's the status of that and uh, yeah. Can you talk a little bit about that? Gavin Slater 00:16:56 Yeah. So, um, I, I think you're referring to the climate mutual innovation district. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, um, we are sitting in the heart of it right now. It's the city center, um, and it, it runs from the university of Strathclyde down to the river Clyde. Um, and then east and west a little bit. And ultimately it's, um, the innovation district was set up, not as a climate, um, approach. It was set up as a, as, as it suggests to help develop innovation. Um, and the university, um, you know, work with is in terms of building new buildings and growing their campus and opportunities for SMEs and, and the like, but they recognized with us that they had the opportunity given the large estate that they own in a very concentrated area to make, um, interventions that would, that would help deal with the climate emergency. Gavin Slater 00:17:46 And it's very clear that it's called a climate neutral innovation district and not just a carbon neutral innovation district cause it's about mitigation and adaptation mm-hmm <affirmative>. So there are a number of things that we've done in partnership with the university who are also partners with is in sustainable Glasgow to look at, um, you know, what interventions we can put place to do that. So, you know, what, what can we do in terms of vehicle access to maybe improve pedestrian access? What can we do with green and blue infrastructure to, to deal with the urban heat island defect? Um, and I guess one of the biggest things that we're looking at as well is again on that district heat side. So the university already has a district heat network that deals with a proportion of its campus, but it's fed off gas and it has accepted and realized that that is not the position they want to be. Gavin Slater 00:18:34 And it's not gonna be net zero. We do have a huge opportunity to extract heat from the river cloud. So hopefully while you're here in Glasgow, you'll get the chance to go down and see the river. Um, but there is estimated to be about eight times the volume of heat required to heat the city sitting latent in, in the water. And we can use heat pumps to extract that heat from the river. And we can run potentially run pipe networks from the river through this innovation district. And then we have anchor loads that the council can put in, like the chambers that we're sitting in and the offices behind and the university has anchor loads. So we can then start to build that network out. Um, and that actually was featured in our, um, perspectives before crop 26 as a 500 million pound project looking for investment. Gavin Slater 00:19:24 So that innovation district is the, the innovation. There is more about bringing all the stakeholders together and saying, okay, how, what is it we want to achieve? How do we achieve it? How much finance do we need? Where do we get the money who takes responsibility for building that? So we're only in phase one really we've done the phase one feasibility, so we know what we want to achieve, but there are other phases in terms of how do we fund it, who takes responsibility for it? Who's the lead. So we're setting up working groups through sustainable Glasgow to continue that, that process. But, you know, going back to what we said earlier, we need to accelerate that pace to get it done in time. So hopefully we'll go through phase two in the next year. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:20:03 Cool. Yeah, that sounds amazing. Uh, we, I know we worked with, um, the city of Belfast on, on some of these issues and we had a lot of stake. We interviewed a lot, a lot of stakeholders around this. Um, what other stakeholders are involved? So you mentioned the university and how do you involve them and get them, um, yeah. Cohesively together. Gavin Slater 00:20:27 Yeah. So, um, as I said, they're already partners with us in sustainable Glasgow. Sustainable Glasgow has 16 core members set on the board and they cover academic institutions like the university of Strathclyde and the university of Glasgow. But we also also have the national health service on board, the Scottish government, um, the, the weekly group, which is a, a group of housing associations in the city. So Glasgow city council, unlike other councils, doesn't have any council housing. So all of our house, all of our housing stock was transferred out to resident social landlords or housing associations. So they work with us because they manage that house estate. Um, so there are a variety of different partners there, including Scottish power, who they're there by virtue of the fact that they own the cables under the ground in Glasgow. So anything we do is likely to involve them. Gavin Slater 00:21:18 So it's good to have them at the table to work with. They're a very different that's Scottish power, energy networks. They're a very different entity to Scottish power, the retail company. So there's, there's a difference. Um, and we all worked together to, to develop that. So with the climate mutual innovation district, we already had some of those relationships. We, we brought together funding with the university and then we brought in professional companies and consultancies to work with is, but also local companies like star renewables, who are a local company that build heat pumps and have deployed heat pumps, uh, across the world. They've deployed heat pumps to take entire villages. And I think Norway, um, onto heat pump, district heat so that, you know, they really know what they're doing, but also bringing in financial experts and technical experts. And, you know, we had a huge consulting working on it. Gavin Slater 00:22:06 We then bring in other sort of NGO, national government organizations like, um, Scottish enterprise to look at the kinda skills that are required to deliver that. Um, so it's quite a hu quite a, a big collaboration of people. Um, and what we did is we had a, a sort of working group to go through the process, but also a steering group to look at what was being delivered and see if it fits strategically with what the city's done. So it's a, it is a big piece of work and colleagues at the university have done a great job kind of corral and everyone together and, and deliver on that. Um, my role really, and it was to look at the outputs that were coming and see, you know, how do they fit with what we were trying to achieve strategically and where can we support those things going forward? So, um, it's an ongoing kind of exercise and it's an ongoing, it's a difficult thing to manage that kind of stakeholder engagement piece. And it takes a lot more time and resource than people think. Yeah. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:22:55 Yeah. It's huge. Um, that's what we found as well. That it's, it's a huge undertaking. So, um, yeah. Good on you for really bringing this all to life together with partners. Of course. Gavin Slater 00:23:07 Yeah. I can't take all the credit. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:23:08 Yeah. <laugh> um, so just really one last, um, more serious question, I suppose, but, um, so with a plan, we do a lot of planning, um, and we have to of course do a lot of planning, but what would you say is the kind of the key to stop planning and then just start implementing some things, cuz I think some people are saying, oh, this takes so long. The government takes so long to get anything done. So how do we start stop planning and start implementing? Gavin Slater 00:23:41 Yeah, it's a great question. And that's one that we, um, we think about all the time and I can, I can appreciate people's frustrations when they look at that and think, oh, more strategize and more planning. But, um, again, it goes back to that. I think if you, if you looked at things 10 years ago to put a wind turbine somewhere was that big undertaken and you had to convince people that that's technology was dependable, but you know, nothing was really changing with that. And there was, there was fairly static support for these things over time. The rate of change of technology means that it's very difficult to back something with all your horses, you know, because tomorrow it could be. So, you know, for example, a few years ago we were putting gas, combined heat, power engines in the street heat, whatever we could, a few years later, we shouldn't have done that. Gavin Slater 00:24:37 Gas is not the, the answer we should have been doing something else. So even with all the planning that you put in place, those plans have to change all the time. And it's, it's about finding a balance between striking and action and getting stuff done. Um, but not putting all of your eggs into a basket that then, oh, that was the wrong technology. And we now need to dig that all up again, because as much as people might get frustrated with the idea that we are sitting and thinking, but not doing, they get equally frustrated. If we do something and then come back a year later and say, no, we're taking that away and we're doing something else. So, um, it's a challenge issuers and, and you know, we are responsible for spending public money and we need to make sure we are doing it absolutely in the best way we can with the best knowledge that we can find. Gavin Slater 00:25:26 Um, but we are taking action all the time and you know, I have my team set up so that I do have people thinking about what is coming down the line in terms of policy and national government is always pushing us for policy. You know, they might recognize something and say, well, we need to focus on this and we need you to have a policy on that. And that forces our hand, um, in terms of reacting to that and having the right policy for it. I also have part of my team that is there to build and get projects up and running. So, you know, in the past, the past few years, we've, um, installed 300 electric vehicle sales points in the city, right. And, and that's been great. We get a lot of feedback on the success of that, but also this one's not working. Gavin Slater 00:26:10 Can you fix it? And all the work that comes with that, but we are constantly thinking, is that the right solution, you know, are electric vehicles the answer, do we want that many charges in the streets? Where will the private sector get involved? So we can't afford to just pick an action and then go for that because the world changes such a right now that we have to always be aware of what's going on. So I think ultimately what it comes down to is communication. And maybe what we lack is a really strong communication with the public to make them understand what we are doing and why we're doing it and where we're making progress and why we're thinking about these other things. Um, and that's something we're getting better at. We've got a new website and we're putting a lot of information out there to show people the sustainable glass website, show them what we are doing. Um, and, and, you know, quite often the things we're doing are a bit invisible, you know, so if we put, you know, they're under the ground or they're not very visible, so helping people understand what is we are doing, you know, and helping them understand the impacts of what we are doing on their lives, um, and on the environment. So yeah, I think there's probably more action than people recognize, but then we probably aren't doing as good a job as we perhaps should in communicate in that to people. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:27:23 Yeah. Yeah. Good answer. Um, so that will conclude our main interview section. And now we just get to have a little bit more fun. <laugh> I hope you're ready. Um, so now we will go into a segment that I call, uh, roll with the punches, answer this or that questions quickly and with your first instincts. Okay. Um, and then at the end, you'll get the chance if you want to explain your answer, but you have to just pick one quickly. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Um, they're not too difficult. Don't worry. <laugh> um, Northern Ireland or Wales? Gavin Slater 00:28:02 Wales. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:28:04 Celtic or Rangers? Gavin Slater 00:28:09 Celtic. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:28:12 <laugh> Night owl or early bird? Gavin Slater 00:28:09 Uh, used to be a night owl, now, I'm an early bird. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:28:12 <laugh> Tram or Metro? Gavin Slater 00:28:13 Metro. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:28:15 All right. Do you want to explain any of your answers? Gavin Slater 00:28:17 <laugh>? Um, I think the night owl-early bird one is just the symptom of age probably <laugh> um, and responsibility. Um, the only one I would go back on is maybe the Metro tram one trams are amazing. They're very romantic, but as a cyclist, they're also potentially very lethal in terms of getting your tile stuck in the tracks. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:28:40 I've seen that happen too many times. It's quite tragic. Gavin Slater 00:28:44 So hopefully metro eliminates that issue to cyclists. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:28:48 Okay. Yeah. Tough choice. Maybe a little bit of both. Um, and so why Wales? Gavin Slater 00:28:54 Um, I think Wales is probably closer to Scotland in terms of character. Um, I've all the time that I've spent in Wales. I've really enjoyed. I've really enjoyed the people from Wales. I've got some very good friends from Northern island, and I have to be clear about that. <laugh> um, but I perhaps haven't spent enough time in Northern Ireland to, to, um, be fond of it. So Tamlyn Shimizu 00:29:18 Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. Yeah. We, we worked with the, with the Welsh government for a while and I have to say, I really think that the, the personalities that I found here in the Welsh are quite similar. Um, Gavin Slater 00:29:30 I just hope my Northern Irish friends don't listen to this <laugh> Tamlyn Shimizu 00:29:35 They won't listen. No, um, we'll, we'll clear the air, don't worry. Um, yeah, so, yeah. Thanks for playing along. Um, and now I just have to ask you one, really one final question, and that's a question that we ask every single guest and it is, uh, to you, what is a smart city? Gavin Slater 00:29:53 Now, there's a question. Um, I, I guess honestly, I think a smart city is one that listens and reacts to its citizens, um, meets to the best of its ability, their expectations, and wants and works with them from the ground up to deliver improvements and solutions. Um, and I think also is realistic about how it can do that. So, yeah, I think, I think a smart city is a listening city. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:30:26 That's very, that's the perfect in, uh, into our podcast really. So, um, with that, I have to give you a very warm, thank you. Um, once again, to letting us, uh, invade on your very busy schedule, um, and getting to dig into your thoughts more and learn from you a bit. Um, yeah, thanks so much, Gavin. Thank you. And to all of our listeners, if you want to learn more about projects and real life implementations in smart cities in Europe and beyond, you can find more information on bable-smartcities.eu and be part of our community by signing up for free. Thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban.

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