Speaker 1 00:00:06 Welcome to Smart in the City, the Bobble podcast. I am your host, Talin Shasu, and really at bobble 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 light. So, uh, yeah, we haven't journeyed too far from Finland. Um, just a short trip to Prague in this podcast, and now we're going back to Finland. So, and, uh, we're going to Lati to be exact, um, which is a municipality around a hundred kilometers or so north from Helsinki. And in this episode, we are also really capturing the essence of public private partnership, which is obviously a topic that is very close to our goals at B. So, but now, um, yeah, I'll stop talking so much and introduce you to the great guests that we have for today. First, I would like to introduce you all to Johanna, Paul Mickey, who is city architect for the city of Lati. Um, she's all about community engagement, participatory planning, and more. So yeah, thanks so much for coming on, Johan.
Speaker 2 00:01:21 Thank you. Thank you, Timlin, My pleasure to be here.
Speaker 1 00:01:25 Yeah, really our pleasure. But, uh, I'm really interested to dig into all of your thoughts around these topics. Um, and also I have to introduce to you, to our other interviewee who's with us today to bring in really the private sector perspective as well. And her name is Mar Kala, who is the CEO and co-founder at mape, uh, which is a community engagement platform for managing public participation processes in a central place. Yeah, welcome. Also mad.
Speaker 2 00:01:56 Thank you. Ta Great to be here.
Speaker 1 00:01:58 Yeah, great to have you. Um, so we always get started <laugh> with our little, uh, tease a little, um, way into the questions with a warmup, so to say. So, uh, your history goes back a long way with each other. I've heard <laugh>. Um, can you tell us about the first time you met, if you remember?
Speaker 2 00:02:23 Oh, God.
Speaker 1 00:02:24 Oh is best.
Speaker 2 00:02:27 This is a test whether we remember the same thing or not. I remember for certain that I had heard a lot about ma, that she was the researcher who had been doing from the research side, the things that I had been, uh, endeavoring in practice, and I had read some something written by you and, um, then finally maybe around 2010 it might have been or something like that. Around that time I finally got to meet you, uh, on all the university campus.
Speaker 3 00:03:08 Yeah, because I remember that and I, I agree with you and I remember that as well that I think we met at the Al University. I think we met at the institute Yes. Where I was still working. Somehow I remember you kind of entering marketer's office or something like that, and we had a small meeting or chat or something. This is some something I remember, but yeah, not indeed.
Speaker 2 00:03:37 Yes. Maybe we have to explain that the unifying factor for us is, or the common common denominator is market Tata professor at University of Al, who is really the ground groundbreaking person in participatory planning and GIS systems. Moderate. You can explain this much better than I I can, and
Speaker 3 00:04:02 Yeah, it might be that I will back to that, but it's true. I'm in, Yeah. She is also behind this whole innovation of, of, um, kind of using gis, uh, geographic infa system and, and in in, in bringing the knowledge from the people and gathering the experience based information from the people about their living environment. So she is behind the whole innovation, and I have been happy to work with her throughout my, my, uh, career. So Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:04:39 Yeah, I could point out that, uh, there's actually, when you were saying that public private partnership like a company and the city, then the, the third very important party or factor in, in this equation is, uh, the academic community that we from, from at least the city's perspective where I work. Uh, we, we need the platform and, and the, the tools developed by, by the private sector to, to, to do, do the things that we want to implement. Uh, but uh, also I find it very valuable that we have a close, close relationship, uh, to academic research so that we are able to do work at the city, which is, uh, uh, based on, on, uh, research and fact and, uh,
Speaker 1 00:05:30 Yeah, the research backed, um, decision making and, uh, driving forward with these tools is very important. Yeah. Um, yeah, thanks so much for a little background. And then I want to, you know, start speaking on a bit of a high level on, on the topic of today. Um, and when I spoke to you both first, I, I think it was very clear that you wanted to speak really about this knowledge driven community engagement aspect. Um, so maybe Johanna, you can go first. Um, what does that mean to you at its core?
Speaker 2 00:06:04 Um, I think planning, urban planning is a lot about using different types of knowledge that we have about the environment, the physical environment and, and people. And, and it comes in many categories. We are very used to using knowledge about, uh, like geographical information about, uh, what kind of soil situation we have, what kind of ground and so on. We, we use knowledge about traffic situation. We, we use knowledge about nature and so on. And, um, we, we know a lot about the, uh, features of the natural environment, where we are, we are operating. Uh, but what's more sort of new to us is, uh, knowledge about the people who are the end users of the, uh, city environment. And, um, I've done concerted effort in my own work to bring that knowledge about the people and their, their, their wishes, their desires, their needs, and, and even their behaviors into planning processes. And that's where we find especially common ground grounding with Mari.
Speaker 1 00:07:18 Yeah. And I would love to hear your perspective as well. Um, what, what does it really mean to say knowledge driven community engagement? It sounds like a, a bit of a buzzword, right? Yeah. But how could we bring it to ground and give it heart?
Speaker 4 00:07:33 Yeah, it was, I mean, when I started to work with this type of tools and innovations in 2005, I, I remember being a little bit sort of irritated, uh, how we, how we usually understand participation, how we usually understand participation as an action. We usually, we tend to think that it should be based on discussion and, and meeting up with people and, and having this, um, one on one discussions. And I felt that it's, it's, it's narrowing down the way, uh, and it's narrowing down our possibilities in reaching out people more broadly. And that's why I got very interested of the idea that when we are gathering this new type of information that's based on people's perceptions and ideas and thoughts, and we get this new data that actually could, that also build a bridge between the expert, the professional, the planner, and the resident. And of course, I do understand that discussion still is required. I don't say that we could, um, neglect that, but, uh, in, in addition, this, uh, knowledge driven, or actually in my dissertation, I talk about knowledge informed planning that this, and as, as Johanna said, urban planning, it's a lot about different kinds of information and data sets. But I am happy to see today that the data we can capture from the people is also taken seriously, and it's also part of the knowledge planners are using.
Speaker 1 00:09:20 Yeah, yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And you, you mentioned this concept to me, um, before, and I wonder if you can touch on that again, mad on, um, you, you said, whose knowledge counts? What does that mean?
Speaker 4 00:09:37 Yeah, I think it, it refers exactly to this point that we were just talking about, that that, um, that we have a lot data and information available and, and also planning as an, as a work. I mean, Johanna can describe this better, but it requires a lot of information and data. But the question is that do we have a good amount of data from the people to whom we are actually designing this environment? And, and then the other question is after that, that if we have the data from the people, is it representative whose knowledge do we actually, uh, have and who are we listening to? And I think in participation, we still have challenges in that it's usually only the loud ones whose voice comes through and we don't get, uh, people's voice sort of broadly enough.
Speaker 1 00:10:38 Yeah. Yeah. And how do you do that on the city administration side of things, Johanna? Like how do you make sure that every, all the soft voices are counted too?
Speaker 2 00:10:49 You can't make sure <laugh>, it's never going to be perfect, and we have to acknowledge that, but I think it's a good, good goal to try to make the discussion as wide as possible and include as many voices as possible and as much knowledge from the people as possible. And, uh, you need several different methods for doing this. And like Mar said, discussion one-to-one discussion or live discussion with, with the citizens is really important. It's important not only for gathering knowledge, but also just for building a good relationship and, and trust with the people and, and to get to know them and, and make, uh, sort of, uh, instead of making anonymous planning processes, we give a face to the work that we do. We meet the people and, and we tell them what we do, why with who we are, what are the values that we represent as city officials when we are doing this work.
Speaker 2 00:11:50 But in addition to this, uh, this kind of, uh, meeting the people, uh, I think it's a good idea to broaden the scope and, and, and try to get more voices heard via some kind of, uh, platform to collect, uh, more data, um, in a more systematic way that we can analyze in a more systematic way and, and put into the planning process, uh, in more sort of similar way as we treat all other knowledge. So that the sort of difference between sort of so-called hard data and soft data becomes smaller. It's more similar the way we treat knowledge from the citizens and from the people than say, for example, knowledge that we have about flying squirrels or groundwater or traffic, traffic. Also, all that knowledge about the, uh, physical environment is produced by people. Those people just happen to be experts in their own field that they are dealing with. The knowledge that we get about, uh, flying squirrels comes from experts on that subject. And now if we want knowledge about how the city works in everyday life, then the best experts are the citizens themselves, the people who use the city. So why not take the knowledge from them in a systematic way and use it in a systematic way in planning processes. And, uh, Maritz's company Mae has a really, really good tool that we've been using for years
Speaker 1 00:13:33 Yeah. To this end. Yeah, we'll talk to talk about that in, in just a minute. I, I'm wondering if, um, you collect a lot of data on flying squirrels and la
Speaker 2 00:13:42 <laugh>. Yeah, it's an, it's a species that, uh, we have to take into accounting planning because of EU directives. So, so, yes. Uh,
Speaker 1 00:13:52 Interesting. Okay, good, good little, uh, tidbit there. Um, more, you know, of course. Uh, yeah. Mad. I do want to talk about tools now cuz you're really on that side of the equation, supplying the tools to really do this type of work. Um, first question is, how do you think cities should use tools and how should they not use tools?
Speaker 4 00:14:15 Oh, yo, yo. Like all tools, <laugh>,
Speaker 1 00:14:17 All tools, all city for, well, for example, your tool. We can, we can narrow it if you'd like. How should a city use your tool and how should they not use it?
Speaker 4 00:14:28 Yeah, I think we need to narrow it down. I mean, Johanna can maybe, uh, give better idea, but I think cities are using so many different kinds of tools and channels also when communicating with people. But of course, we see, um, we see nowadays also more and more cities who are interested and eager to kind of, to direct different types of activities to map a platform as well. And that's also, I think it to some extent it can happen that you have one, one tool, one service through which you take care of most of the, the activities. But then I think it'll be always there that you have these other tools also, uh, available and in use. But yeah, what, what cities should do and what they shouldn't. I mean, of course I love always, I, I think that's, uh, amazing when cities use the tool a lot because that's the way how they learn, uh, the capabilities of the tool they learn about, uh, themselves, you know, that how to shape they process it, what's useful for them and, you know, so I think when they use it a lot and when they are open to learn.
Speaker 4 00:15:58 And also I think that too, that when the colleagues, for example, new colleagues are willing to test and learn. So, and I think that's the, the other side that what they shouldn't do is that to have just one person maybe in the organization, you know, can you take care of this engagement questionnaires, map-based questionnaires, can you do that? All that. And then it's this one poor person who needs to take care of all these different kinds of designing the tools for different projects. So I think it's better if the planners also do, they cannot do, of course. I mean, but they, like, they are more involved into the designing phase of this engagement tools. But that what, what they shouldn't do also is, um, I think this, this doesn't happen that often anymore, but I mean, we established a company 11 years ago and it was, I think it was more visible during that time that sometimes I felt that the cities, they are eager to, you know, they are eager to test and try the tools and use, use the tools for data collection, but they were not that eager to really use the data in a way.
Speaker 4 00:17:20 And, and this is something I, I feel that they should not neglect this information. They should really use it and think in what ways it's valuable for them. So yeah. Hard question.
Speaker 1 00:17:36 Good, good. Then I'm doing my job well.
Speaker 2 00:17:39 Can I take on that
Speaker 1 00:17:40 <laugh>? Yes, yes, please. Johan.
Speaker 2 00:17:43 Excellent, excellent point that ma, that, uh, it's not enough to be eager to use the tool. You should also be eager to use the, in the end result, the, the data and the knowledge that is produced, the, the tool is just a tool. It's not in an, it's not an end in itself, but the knowledge is, and, and the, the end result, the, the good plan that comes out at the end of the process is, uh, is the end and, and good life is the end, end product. And, uh, planning is all about processes. And I think it's a good idea to think about the way you use different tools for participation, what kind of, uh, tool and what kind of intervention together with the citizens is pertinent at which stage of the process. And, uh, from my experience, I know that the earlier you can initiate dialogue with citizens, the better, the earlier the better.
Speaker 2 00:18:47 And, um, I think the earliest thing that you can do with people is before you even set out to a particular planning task or before you set the goals for a particular planning project, you can already start collecting knowledge about how the city works. Where, where are the places that the citizens love, where are the places that they want to develop and why, what their experience of, uh, accessing services and things like that are on a general level without even an agenda of planning. That's the earliest stage possible that you can engage people and you can produce that kind of knowledge, that you can then feed into different, uh, planning, planning processes. And then you can, uh, initiate a dialogue with the people, even one to one, uh, bringing into this, this, you can, you can give this knowledge, Hey, we've produced this knowledge, uh, in this questionnaire and we found out that, uh, the citizens of Lathy love these and these areas, and they would like to see these and these areas developed further. And then you can start a discussion about whether that knowledge is valid and which, which, uh, development sites we should prioritize and what we should protect and what we should do. And, uh, these map-based questionnaires are very, very good for gathering this early stage knowledge.
Speaker 1 00:20:17 What happens when people contradict each each other. When, when you're collecting knowledge and people say, No, we want that. No, we don't want that. No, we should do this. No, we don't do this. What do you do then?
Speaker 2 00:20:28 Uh, well, uh, planning results are never a result of a vote
Speaker 1 00:20:34 <laugh>, it's not a democracy
Speaker 2 00:20:36 <laugh>, it's a democratic process in that everyone can participate and give, give their view. And, uh, and then it's at least in the finish planning system, it's the, the elected, uh, decision makers who finally make the decision about the plan. So it's a democratic process. Yes, and it's open, but, uh, it, it's not about, you know, who shouts the loudest or who which, which view gets the most votes because it's not only about the people's knowledge. Remember I said that we use many different types of knowledge. We have to take all that other knowledge into account as well and weigh what is, what is the best solution, uh, taken all this knowledge that we have taken, our strategic goals that we have taken, taken the values that we support, and, and, and then hopefully we can come in into a consensus, uh, make a planning solution that our decision makers can come into consensus about. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 4 00:21:36 <affirmative>, and may I add little remark? I remember, I mean, when we did the first projects together, it was still, I was still working at the university. We did the first project with the urban planners in couple of Finn Cities. And it was the very first time this type of innovation technology was used ever. And I remember when we were having a discussion with the planners, what was the biggest fear was that they get a lot of this negative feedback because that was how it used to be more, they said, uh, to us that always when they organize these workshops or you know, public meetings, they get just this negative feedback. People are complaining, they are annoyed, they are asking like, Why have you already planned everything while you haven't been listening to us and why this type of sort of planning, um, solution is taking place in here?
Speaker 4 00:22:35 And they were used to get this negative feedback. So they were, Yeah, yeah, that was like very strong in their thinking. Like, and, and they were afraid a little bit that, okay, if we now open this panora box for the residents and we can give them the possibility to, to even more quickly to share their feedback, they were afraid that, oh, what will happen? And after the first project when they know this, that when the data is collected in a structured way and being thought carefully, what are the important questions, introducing the people, why we are gathering the information, what will happen in the area? What was the result was that they got a lot of positive feedback. People were giving positive, uh, comments and feedback and constructive, uh, torch. So, and this is still something, uh, this is something that is still, I think, um, visible when, when these types of tools are used, that it's not only about negative feedback, I think it's more this positive and constructive feedback.
Speaker 2 00:23:48 I remember one planning case in Lati, for example, where the, where the plan proposal was presented in mape. And uh, up until that time we had, we had the impression that there was, there was a high rise building in that plan, and we had the impression that everybody in Lati opposes that building. But when the plan proposal was, uh, presented in mape and, and people could point their views on the map, we found out that the views were 50, 50, 50% of the respondents were against it. But then suddenly there were hundreds of people who were for building that high rise building. And in all the public hearing events that we had organized until then, it was only the loud opposers who were, were being voiced. And, and the ones who were not against the plan, either they didn't come to the events or they didn't daresay a thing in face of the, uh, strong opposition.
Speaker 1 00:24:48 Yeah. Really interesting case. Do you have other examples, um, uh, maybe Johanna on, on how you use the tool to, um, and maybe it surprised you?
Speaker 2 00:25:00 I don't know, maybe it surprised me so much, but, um, in my career as a planner, I've been using the tool a lot for, uh, gathering very sort of extensive large data sets that cover basically the whole city on, on a specific team or, or trying to gather that sort of without any, any planning agenda type of knowledge about people's everyday lives and, and then feeding that on into, uh, into next phases of the planning process. Cuz I have, I have been working on sort of the general planning level or master planning level of the city for a long time. And that that's, that's sort of the kind of engagement that I've been most, uh, familiar with.
Speaker 4 00:25:48 May I tell quickly what has surprised me in, in the way how Loft has used, uh, map? Because I think you have done extremely great job in shaping the internal processes as well, uh, according to how to, how to, how to really utilize the data and how to take it further through these different kinds of tools you are using, uh, in planning. Maybe you can elaborate that a little bit more, Johanna, but I think you have done good.
Speaker 2 00:26:21 Well, we've done concerted effort in lofty to, to, uh, tackle this question about not just having eager use of the tool, but also using the data, uh, making sure that the data is not forgotten in planning processes. So what we've done, uh, in a very sort of simple but innovative way that we've used the GIS system that is used in the city where, where the, uh, where the city register is for, for all the, um, uh, for all the map things that the GIS system of the city. Um, we have inco in integrated this, uh, experiential knowledge from people into that same system. So it's, it's sort of, uh, on, on the same level, on, on a par with all the other knowledge that we have. So we try to make sure that it's easily found and, uh, that different planners can use that knowledge just the same way as they use knowledge about groundwater areas or restrictions or something like that.
Speaker 1 00:27:27 Yeah, really great insights. And, uh, I also always have to ask a bit on like the limitations of, um, like what, what are the limitations to the benefits of using a tool like this? Like where, where do the benefits stop either to either of you?
Speaker 2 00:27:45 I wouldn't say that the benefits, the benefits as such don't stop, but there are limitations and, and things that we still need to work on how, how to use this data. For example, one thing that we've noticed that now that we've been using the tool for about 10 years and, uh, the data keeps accumulating and we have a lot, we have a lot of data. Uh, it's mostly still, even if it's systematic questionnaire data, it's still, I would, it's still quite qualitative, at least in our sense, and it's a bit difficult to, or it's it laborious to go through the data and see what's still valued, how to help sort of like a best before date to this kind of dataset. Like some other dataset. Let's refer to flying squirrels again, for example. That is a dataset that is provided to us by out outside experts, by by nature experts every so often in a, in a systematic way, in, in a year, I don't know how many years it's re there's like a renewal period of the data, but there's no such sort of requirements for this kind of participatory GIS that you should re regard, uh, questionnaires older than five years old, outdated because some, some, some map mappings can be valid for a very long time and some can be outdated much earlier, and then it becomes a bit harder for the planner to be able to trust whether this data is still valid or not if it's very old.
Speaker 4 00:29:28 And from my point of view, if I may add where the limitations are, I mean, we work, uh, globally in over 40 countries at the moment. And so I hear the stories from, from different kinds of organizations and from different kinds of cultural contexts. But I, I feel that many, many, uh, uh, institutes, organizations struggle a bit with the data management as they just described. Also, they, sometimes they, they have challenges in the analysis phase of the data because those data sets can be huge. And if, if, if you haven't really careful, for example, taught the questions how to, how to design the questions and on how to design the questionnaire, you can quite, quite, quite, um, challenging data set back, which is, uh, demanding and libraries tend to analyze and visualize. But then also I feel that, uh, some limitations are, when it comes to transparency, I mean it's, it's still something I, I hope to see more happening in the future.
Speaker 4 00:30:47 I think we need, maybe we need, uh, some new tools or we have to think the ways to do this better, but how to make it, allow GDPR is also a little bit affecting this, but how to make it, um, somehow more transparent for the residents, What kind of data has been collected, how the data has been used, how it has affect data planning and how it's, you know, for example, not directly, but how, how is it visible in their living environment? So how to add this transparency into the, into these processes and when using the data and when collecting the data. So there we have some limitations, I feel
Speaker 1 00:31:36 Yeah, really great insights into, uh, into the tool and really on, on the learnings behind it. Um, do you both have anything else that you would like to add in this section? I'd like to give you the opportunity, uh, as an open floor, um, to, to add something that you feel quite passionate about that the listeners need to know. Um, Johanna, you have something
Speaker 2 00:32:02 I fully agree with what Marre has said about the challenges in analysis and, and transparency. Uh, the analysis challenge we have tried to tackle by engaging the academic community in our questionnaires that we do, that we, if possible consult researchers and do the projects together so that, uh, we get knowledge that we can use in the planning process, but we can also get sort of like, uh, new research results as well. So mutually beneficial knowledge for planning and, and research. So that can be one way how to tackle the analysis challenge, because researchers are experts on analyzing data. We planners may not necessarily be that, and and I have very good experiences about that kind of collaboration. And then the transparency issue, I fully agree with that as well, ma, that we need to make it absolutely more transparent to the people, uh, not only in the planning phase, but sort of afterwards also why the planning outcome is the way it is, how we end it, how we use the data, and why the planning outcome is, is like this and communicated back very clearly to them.
Speaker 2 00:33:21 Also, we have a very strict bureaucratic, uh, documentation system for plans in Finland, and we could easily use that, that um, uh, system that we have to communicate a bit better than we do at the moment. And we have done that in Lati a little bit. We've, we, for, for example, the the planning planning report that we have to write, it's legally required of us. And so we've used that in very simple ways, pointing out in the text with a different font or, or, uh, underlining or making a, a box this, this bit, uh, of the planning solution where, where you explain, explain the plan, then you point out this was an idea that came from, from the people, for example. They can be very simple things, but then again, who reads planning reports? You need other communication tools as well. So it's all about having an open, continuous dialogue on different platforms with the people.
Speaker 1 00:34:24 Good. Uh, Matt, do you have any closing words? Um, for, for this, uh, the, the main part of the interview?
Speaker 4 00:34:34 Well, I don't know. Yeah, I don't know closing words, but something to share. I mean, I have to say that when we started at the university, uh, and we started to think that whether practitioners could also use this type of tools and technologies and, and then when the practitioners came to us and said, This is interesting and relevant, and when we established a company, I mean, it was all about finding the right minded people from these different organizations, from the, from the cities who were brave enough to test and try these types of new tools. And I think that is something I want to share, that share to everyone, uh, that I think we wouldn't be here without those brave people like Johanna, who, who have, I mean, the tool is just the tool as Johan said, but the people then make it something different and can also drive a change when they use, when, when there is this ambition to use these stores to make, to do something sort of differently and, and making make something better. So I think this type of types of, I would like to kind of thank God these brave people who who are, who are willing to test and learn and try. And I think in participation it's all about that, that we have to be open for new ideas and innovations and testing and, and learning and doing these things together. I think it will never be sort of ready in a way.
Speaker 1 00:36:20 Yeah. Yeah. Now, uh, yeah, thanks to, thanks to both of you brave people also for coming onto the podcast and talking about this. Um, I have a, a little, um, also I have another ask of you, um, that also requires a little bit of bravery and it's, um, enduring one of our segments. Um, it's actually a new segment of ours called Freaky Friday,
Speaker 5 00:36:46 Freaky Friday, Switch Places with your Co Interviewee and answer a few questions in their
Speaker 1 00:36:54 Shoes. So moderate, now you are Johanna and Johanna, now you are ma. Um, so get in your each other's mindset, um, a little bit. Uh, good. Um, uh, moderate <laugh>, uh, what is your hope for your organization? Uh, yeah, uh, mape,
Speaker 2 00:37:23 Ah,
Speaker 4 00:37:24 Oh, this is not
Speaker 1 00:37:26 <laugh>.
Speaker 4 00:37:27 Uh,
Speaker 1 00:37:28 Yeah. So yeah, you are
Speaker 2 00:37:30 My hope, my, my hope for Mape Me Mart now. <laugh>. Yes. My hope for map is that, uh, it'll be more and more widely used globally, uh, but that at the same time as it, uh, spreads, uh, it'll also keep developing, uh, in an innovative way to answer users' needs and, and, uh, be a pertinent tool even in the future.
Speaker 1 00:38:09 Yeah. Yeah, I'd like to see that as well. Good. Now, Yohan <laugh>, what is your hope for your organization?
Speaker 4 00:38:18 Well, I, I certainly hope, yeah, lot. Uh, I hope that, uh, we at the city of Lati, uh, would get more sort of feedback from the people, not through <inaudible>, but in general, we would get this feedback from the people that, that they would come to us saying that, Hey, we love this city. And it has been amazing how the city has developed further and it, it's, it's becoming more livable and lovable and, and that we are doing a great work together with them. Um, yeah, I, yeah, there was something else also in my mind, but now I lost it. <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:39:05 Oh, good. Very lovely. I'm glad you could get in each other's shoes for a minute. And now, um, you can switch back to your own shoes, <laugh>. So just back in your own mindset, I would like to ask the question that I ask every single guest that comes onto this show, because as you know, we are a, a smart city podcast, and that term we use in a very broad way, and I always like to get in everyone's heads as to what they actually view a smart city as. So, um, ma moderate to you, what is a smart city?
Speaker 4 00:39:39 Oh, <laugh>. This is, this is tricky because I have been actually criticizing a lot of the concept and that, um, to be honest, I mean of, I mean smart city, I mean, because it used to be more just know about technology and I was a little bit irritated that, okay, now we are designing this, talking, um, talking bins and, you know, all these sort of different kinds of, you know, new thingies that are just smart. And I felt always that is this, now that we are just creating and generating a lot of new technologies and, and stuff, you know, so I I have been quite critical towards the term I have to say, but I think smart city at best is a city where we, we use certainly tools and technology and digital, digital ways and channels and all that, but we, it's the people who drive the use of these tools and it's, it's all about the people, people behind the technology, people using the technology.
Speaker 4 00:40:55 And I think we have to take ownership and control when it, like what we want and when it is, um, valuable for the making of the city, that we just don't do that for the sake of being smart and bringing new technology in. So we are a little bit more mindful. And also I have to say that nowadays in this sort of, uh, ecological crisis in which we are, and climates and all that, so I would like the smart city thinking to concentrate also more to the sustainability, uh, issues and that side. So it's balancing in a way
Speaker 1 00:41:40 The balancing activist city. Yes. Good. Uh, Johanna, I, I imagine you shared similar views, but would love to hear in your words, to you, what is a smart city?
Speaker 2 00:41:48 Absolutely. I think a smart city is a smart community, so it's all about people and, and working, working together. And uh, that was a good point that you made mar that smartness very, very much should be about sustainability as well. So it's not, not just technology. Technology can be smart and it can support these goals of, of being a smart community together. Like, like your, your technological tool, er does that, but it's not only that.
Speaker 1 00:42:21 Yeah. Perfect. Uh, I, I think it's really nice to widen this definition a bit and really talk at, at the core about who is the technology serving, Um, and, and if it does not serve that purpose, then why are we using it? So I, I love that topic when we talk about smart cities as well. So, um, with that, I, I only have one thing left to say and that's just a big thank you to both of you for a lovely and very insightful episode. So yeah, thank you so much and I hope we can do it again sometime.
Speaker 4 00:42:51 Thank you Tamlin, and thank you Johanna.
Speaker 2 00:42:55 Thank you very much. Pleasure to be here,
Speaker 1 00:42:58 <laugh>. Thank you. And, uh, yeah, to all of our listeners, don't forget, you can always create a free account on Babel Smart cities.eu and you can find out all about different projects, solutions, implementations. You can even find a use case, um, from Maper and Lati on there. So make sure to check that out to get more information about how this tool is used in Lati. So yeah, thank you all. Thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban life.
Speaker 6 00:43:33 And
Speaker 2 00:43:33 I would have to step into modern shoes. My first reaction would be, Oh my gosh, I'm gonna have to do all that traveling
Speaker 1 00:43:40 <laugh>.
Speaker 4 00:43:42 It did.