Tamlyn Shimizu 00:00:06 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 light.
So today is very exciting. We are back with our H2020 EU-funded project SPARCS, speaking with one of the fellow cities of the project, Kladno in the Czech Republic, live actually at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona. Within the project, they are working in the replication processes. So this episode will really explore what that means and how others can also replicate that success that we see in other cities. So first, of course, we have guests with us today because you don't want to just listen to me talking all day. So we have some wonderful guests. First off, wonderful colleague of mine. I said wonderful way too many times just now, but it's true. So, um, we have Gretel Schaj, um, she's the Regional Manager of BABLE Iberia and also of course the Project Lead from BABLE for the SPARCS Project. And it's your first time on the show, so welcome Gretel.
Gretel Schaj 00:01:26 Thank you very much. I'm really happy to be here.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:29 Very excited to have another one of our colleagues on so you all can get to know us all eventually one of these days. So and of course we also have a wonderful special guest with us today, David Škorňa. He's the head of Project Sparks for the city of Kladno, so yeah, welcome, welcome.
David Škorňa 00:01:47 Warm greetings from Kladno.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:49 Yeah, Kladno representing Czech Republic. Actually just had, someone on from Prague as well, so we're really getting into this Czech Republic thing. So, and actually Kladno is quite close to, to Prague, right?
David Škorňa 00:02:02 Yeah. It is like 20 kilometres and we call them like, it's a surrounding of Kladno you know?
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:08 Yeah, yeah. The, the outskirts really. So, um, getting some of the benefits hopefully from being close to the big city, but still with that small city environment. So -
David Škorňa 00:02:17 Yeah, definitely.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:18 Cool. So, um, yeah, we're, we're a bit tired maybe. We've been, you know, visiting and talking with lots of people at the expo. And so I always like to get a little bit more warmed up in energy, with a little teaser. And I am wondering what is your favourite memory from SPARCS so far? And it better include Gretel, <laugh>
David Škorňa 00:02:45 For me, definitely meeting people eventually since -
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:49 Last week, right?
David Škorňa 00:02:50 Yeah, it was last week. Very intensive consortium meeting in Kifissia in Greece and, for me it was like first really big event since the beginning of the SPARCS, which is very sad in one side and another side. It was very exciting and very lovely.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:03:05 Yeah. Also from your side, Gretel?
Gretel Schaj 00:03:07 Yes, it, it's very interesting because the project started in 2019. We had the kick-off, um, in Espoo and a couple of months afterwards the pandemic started. So it was for the first time now in Kifissia, we were meeting many people. We have been working together for three years and it feels like we know each other very well because we have seen in camera and many video meetings. Um, but for the first time we're like, well actually I think this is the first time we're seeing each other in person, <laugh>.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:03:39 And you're like, wow, you have a body, you're taller than I thought, or shorter than I thought. I always get the shorter thing. So <laugh>. Great, great. So I, I would love to get more into your background, David, because I think it really helps to get a little bit of context where, where have you come from, what's your story? How did you end up working for the city of Kladno?
David Škorňa 00:04:01 Oh, it's a very, oh, long story behind, I would say, because in previous job I, I was like programming the EU funds for the Czech Republic as a part of ministerial, let's say environment. And then I just, uh, went from Prague to Kladno actually, which is oof, it's very interesting. It, because it works in opposite, right? So, yeah, but I need to relax a bit and do really specific tasks and international projects. SPARCS was, was just amazing, you know, from the beginning and exploiting in the environment in the city, which is having really mining and having industry history and also opportunities in one way since the Prague is not that far. And it, you know, it, it provides you lots of, uh, potential position work for work, but at the same time, lots of people are traveling every day to Prague, you know, and so on. So yeah, it was, it was a challenging and I just, you know, took the role and trying my best there. Yeah.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:04:59 Well, I already know you're doing an amazing job. Um, I would love to hear from Gretel, maybe from your perspective on really what SPARCS is. Let's give, give a little bit more context to our listeners. I mean, they, they hopefully listen to the Espoo episode already and have a little bit of context. But in case you didn't hear, there is a little bit more info about the project.
Gretel Schaj 00:05:21 And, and if you feel like you do not have enough after this podcast, you can go back and hear the Espoo -
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:05:27 Yes, good advice.
Gretel Schaj 00:05:27 <laugh>. You can hear the Espoo episode, which has been very, very interesting. So, SPARCS is a Horizon 2020 funded project. It started in 2019 and it runs, um, until 24. The focus of the project is to promote the uptake and the development of positive energy districts and citizen driven energy communities. So what it means in like simpler words is that we want to create spaces that generate more energy than they consume, uh, really have an impact or reduce the impact cities have in climate and environment and putting citizens at the centre of this transition really making this a bottom-up approach. And I think something very, very interesting from these type of projects is the diversity of cities and partners that participate in, we have two lighthouse cities, which are Espoo, the one that was in the podcast before and Leipzig in Germany. We also have what we call fellow cities, which are cities that are first not at the centre stage of the, of the project when they're implementing, but they in a second stage of the project, which is happening now. They also take a part in what we will be talking about replication. And these five fellow cities are Maia from Portugal, Reykjavik in Iceland, Kladno in the Czech Republic, Kifissia in Greece and Lviv in Ukraine.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:06:59 Wonderful. So for the people, replication, what does that really mean there at its core?
Gretel Schaj 00:07:05 Yeah, I think you would hear different definitions. Um, and I think each project has its own approach on how, how to address replication and what it ultimately - replication means. In a way, the goal is that the first implementations that take in the lighthouse cities have, like a consequence or are taken by the fellow cities, but replication is not just copy and pasting directly, but really adapting it to the local context, to the local realities. Even between fellow cities, they're, you know, they come from very different geographies and challenges. So, the project also takes a big effort into putting time in this replication. But mainly this, mainly this adaptation to what they, what the cities need and how they can actually use what has been implemented in the light health cities, um, and how this can make the yeah, create most benefits for them.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:08:08 Yeah, really interesting. So copy, edit, and paste. A bit more <laugh>. Good. David, do you see replication similar in your role in SPARCS or do you have something to add there?
David Škorňa 00:08:21 Oh yeah. Well, for us, at the beginning it's about learning, about learning and listening. Because so we definitely are in different situation than other cities. And as Gretel correctly stated, we need to adapt it to the local, local conditions and see whether it makes sense or not. And of course you have to start with city diagnosis because if you don't know the details about your city, you don't have a data, you don't have, for instance, smart city tools where you collecting the data continuously, you're not able to even base the solution because you don't know if it fits into the local context. So for us it's about learning and listening to colleagues and also it means, looking around, looking around how to get on the board other inspiration from other fellow cities, for instance, for us it means looking more, intensively to the Leipzig case since, you know, the historical background, industrial background, it's pretty similar as it is in the Czech Republic. Also, the Lviv inspiration and so on. Because imagine, we can't just steal the geothermal energy from Iceland and put it into the Kladno context.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:37 That would be cool.
David Škorňa 00:09:37 <laugh>. Oh yeah, that would be definitely cool. But the conditions and the physical condition at first are just totally different. And I can't imagine that colleagues from Reykjavik would steal our ideas about the roots and biodiversity we have in Kladno and put it into the place. So it has to be adapted, it has to be adapted all the time.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:56 Yeah, absolutely. So we've touched also on this why geographical span of all the cities that are, are within this. And I know that's, um, really interesting but also maybe can be a challenge. What do you think, um, about working with the cities from the different corners in Europe and what are the challenges associated with the different cultures, languages, et cetera?
David Škorňa 00:10:18 Yeah, oh yeah, that's a lot, I have to say. From my perspective, it's very important to somehow analyse what the colleagues are doing exactly. General talks and chitchat, you know, about “oh yeah, let's talk about smart cities”, this is a good start. But then at the end of the day, you need to know the details, you need to know legislation background, which is in this case very difficult and very different than in other states and countries. You need to know how the city administration works, who's responsible for what you need, how the partnership could be exploited, in the different countries. Because I know that one of the key success factors in the Lighthouse cities, for instance, is very intensive collaboration with the business partners. It's not that common in Czech environment, you know, and it could make the solution you targeted on much more easy in the future. So kind of re-puzzling the, the solutions they are, let's say, presenting from our colleagues to understand the details and come back through the city diagnosis data and some proposals in our Kladno case and see whether the replication might work, you know?
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:11:35 You mentioned Leipzig is maybe one of the most similar cities for you, which cities are the most similar and the most different, do you think?
David Škorňa 00:11:45 Yeah, from the SPARCS family, I would say the Reykjavik and Espoo cases are a bit further than the Czech case. Yeah. It's, I think it's most connected with the physical conditions, you know? And, like the German case and probably Lviv case and partially also from Kifissia and Maia, it's been much more closer since, uh, the, let's say overall energy balance and this kind of issues are also, connected with the coal and gas natural gas systems, which is also the case of the Czech Republic. So then you see, because our gene energy balance is more, uh, based on the coals since so far, unfortunately, and natural gas as well, which is critical now in these, these days, right? So we are starting from the scratch dealing with really exploiting the renewables, you know, different solutions in the energy. So this is kind of like general basic situation for energy transformation.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:12:46 Yeah. And I really wanted to talk to you about that also today, a little bit more about this unique background as a mining city that Kladno has. Um, so with this such a strong coal industry background, how can we transition to a more sustainable energy system?
David Škorňa 00:13:04 Very difficult question, I have to say. Our situation is also unique because, uh, the main producer, it's a private own company, so actually they're producing the heat for the city, and it's been made from the coal, of course, it's like 98%. The rest is renewables or biomass. And it's, uh, actually their decision what they, what they do, right? They, it's a business company. So they decide, they do, and we are trying influence them through the negotiation or through the, our SECAP plan. And also, I have to say in this term, the regulation and legislation is very important. The green deal is kind of targeting some goals, right? And these companies will be influenced by this, let's say, rules and conditions. But the current situation is, again, going against this, this, these goals, since we are mostly talking now about security and assurances for the citizens in terms of heating during the winter.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:14:09 Yeah. So, so one tip that you could give to other cities who, who are maybe have a similar background, what would you get?
David Škorňa 00:14:17 I would say targeting some diversification in infrastructure you can influence. In our case, it means that we are trying to set up the business plan for the city company as far as renewables, photovoltaics systems on our buildings, which for instance, in our case are 200. So at least it's, it's not like, you know, low number and you still can earn and produce some renewable energy from PVS you might install. And we have decided to do it through our sitting new company. So it's a kind of a, a diversification and you are lowering consumption, which is made from the electricity and a heat system, which is based on the coal or natural gas, but it's still small step since in the balance it's a still low number.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:15:05 Yeah. Gretel looks like she has a pressing thing she wants to add.
Gretel Schaj 00:15:09 Yeah, I think there, there is one point I just wanted to highlight from what David said, because the point of actually the cities cannot do this work alone. We put a lot of pressure and governments and like the whole discussion is like putting pressure on the cities, like what they're doing, how they regulate and everything. But, also cities, we see that in SPARCS. We see that in many other projects that you have to collaborate with others. And as was David pointing before, you have to build that environment where they all, others will pick up your efforts, your targets, and it's not easy. And it's about convincing them and like really for them to see what they will get from all of these and like really convincing people on that the transition makes sense because we have to achieve certain targets.
Gretel Schaj 00:16:07 We do have - we are very challenged by climate change and other global challenges. And it is finding that spot where by talking to others and building these relationships and really having a constant exchange with others and finding the ways around in which companies will pick up these ideas and really make their own, where this massive transition will take place. And, I know David has been working on that. And it's definitely for any citie, it's a difficult process to really work with others, but also convince them, on what targets are those relevant and are worth achieving,
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:16:55 How do we convince them? Is it the business case?
David Škorňa 00:17:00 Actually, we have - at the beginning I just realized, through the work on the SECAP, which, which was very intensive one year work. And because again, city diagnosis, data knowledge about the city, and it - the suggestions from the SECAP are totally clear, but very, I would say very harsh because the SECAP, in our case is telling us, “Hey, hey guys, 10% of the SECAP you can influence directly and 90% you can, you can't influence directly, you need the partners. You, you are not only partners for instance, BPP projects, but you need, because they own infrastructure.” For instances I was talking about heating company. And the same time we just realized, okay, let's set up the platform, let's set up the platform and partnership ecosystem. So we have invited, I mean like 30-40 partners.
David Škorňa 00:17:52 There was also a transport operator for instance, because of the electric mobility and public transportation, there is a distributor, there is also good companies from national level who are owning the electricity networks and so on and so on. And for me it was a nice moment because after a couple of first discussions they just brought, they came and said, “Hey, it’s our like first or second talk after like 10 years. So it's nice that you invited us”, because so far they was mostly about the negotiation, you know, about article projects. But now the, I mean like the platform is very crucial because it's, for us, it's like core tool. We come back to that all the time. We use it for onsite in the SPARCS, we use it for the vision talks, we use it for the bilateral negotiation about, I dunno, starting some projects.
David Škorňa 00:18:44 And some of them are already running in the designer. Some of them are already being realized. So yeah, that, that was crucial, like waking up, you know, like, yeah, we need some other colleagues, but these 10% we try to show good examples that we can do something in this energy balance. And, and in one case is the energy company we are about to set up another is like the huge wave of building retrofit we are preparing now showing to households, showing to industry that it's worth it and also it's still far away from the citizens, right? These kind of, oh, well energy retro, what it means. Okay, it's about the school's, not about my house, and so on and so on. And so now we are about to submit, actually today one of the project to do life program about, uh, public experts to help steering the situation of households and citizens in their, in their houses, what they can do, you know, and so on. So showing small mill big cases for as a demonstration that it's worth it, that, that the rest can do something. Uh, next to that, then I, at the end of the day, we are just looking forward to count all this stuff by 2030 and say, yeah, we are now nearby being carbon zero and neutral.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:20:08 Yeah. Yeah. That's super interesting and good luck on, good luck on that as well. So what about trying to bring innovation in from outside the Czech Republic, maybe like, to drive the energy transformation in this case. Can you give a way in which you can bring more innovation to cities at all?
David Škorňa 00:20:31 Yeah, uh, I think this is also good learning from SPARCS that we somehow try and look at the things we are preparing from different angles. Because most of the time before it was like, “yeah, we need to do it very fast. Ah, let's do as a business as usual and so on”. So now we are trying to get on the board colleagues from BABLE for instance, from Fraunhofer and from other cities to somehow wait for a second and see whether there is no other, you know, smart adjustment to the solution we need to solve. So the innovation gathering is very important. I would say not like outcome, but the principle of SPARCS and these kind of projects and SPARCS just opened, opened also other opportunities. So from the January we are starting with Horizon as a, as a city, as a local flex, flex will be solving the energy, flexibility, you know, two, three demo buildings, which is another, I would say total innovation step, right?
David Škorňa 00:21:35 To see how to create a market, how to work with surpluses or lack of energy in the buildings and so on. And it's also thanks to the communication and collaboration with the partners and seeing what's happening abroad. But in the same time, it's not about the foreign, um, let's say experience. We have lots of really good cities in the Czech Republic who are already doing good stuff. So thanks to also our context. We have, we are part of the lots of unions and, and, uh, platforms and talking with the cities and other institutions in the Czech Republic.
Gretel Schaj 00:22:07 Cool. Thanks. Gretel do you also have something to add there?
Gretel Schaj 00:22:10 Yes. Um, because I, I think what, uh, David just said this, you know, being there, um, being exposed, there are many opportunities, um, out there. So it's also about harnessing them. Um, and, and also like something that we are also trying from, from SPARCS is to support the cities with the, um, what we call the market consultation process. Market engagement has many different names, uh, wherever that's translated. Um, and, and really the idea is to bring closer the market to the cities, really have a good overview and understanding of what's available in the market, uh, what's the best solution you can get for your challenges. And this, um, in a way, it's one step to look at procurement in a different way, not just procuring, um, maybe you see one thing that's available and then you buy that, but rather looking at, well, this is my challenge, this is what I need to address, what solutions, what product services exist out there, um, that my city can leverage on.
Gretel Schaj 00:23:16 And then you design the requirements and write the requirements for, for the tender, um, in a different way. So you really take that, um, as feedback from the market. Um, and this, we are enabling through, I'm, I'm really excited because we, we have recently developed this tool, which first of all encourages cities to use, uh, this market consultation process. Something that, um, is recognized by EU law and, and, and also in like in the national markets. And it's a way of engaging, really communicating and having these two way interaction with the market, uh, with the, with the wider ecosystem that, um, David was mentioning before at, at an early stage, before you have already written the requirements are, are already buying, but really at a early stage. And what this tool does apart from promoting this element is also to help cities get in touch with, um, with energy or like mobility and any solution provider in Europe.
Gretel Schaj 00:24:20 Um, and we're, we are testing that now also very soon with Maia, um, in Portugal. And I think it's really going back to that point of engaging with the market at different stages, um, at the very early stage of transforming and agreeing, um, on the goals that you have for the city till you get to the, to the project level. Um, so it's really like taking these different steps and engaging and, um, and it, it does seem like it, it, it's something like it should happen naturally, but you, you just said that, um, it does not, and like we think, oh, you know, it's obvious they should engage on this or they should transform how they produce energy or how they do this or that these other companies. But, um, it's really by having these common forums and uh, having these conversations that we start to create change and like go to also beyond what the organization is and like go through people, uh, who are making change in organizations.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:25:23 How, so I, I've been hearing a lot, uh, at, at this expo, um, and one of our main goals at BABLE, of course is to try and get more innovations into cities quicker, right? A speed that actually really helps meet our goals. So how does a tool like the market consultation, how does that accelerate the, the uptake of innovative solutions in cities?
Gretel Schaj 00:25:43 Yeah. Um, well first of all, getting exposed to, to what, what is out there? So, um, the idea is that, you know, there is so much going on out there. We, we work or are in touch with many, many companies and we ourselves that try to be, that bridge, do not know all the details of what's being produced developed, because the market is in constant evolution. So we know there are certain solutions that have been already implemented that's clear, that's already like the use cases that we take as reference. Um, but there is so much more, um, because companies are also adapting their services, their products to the cities' need and that that's market as any other in constant evolution. So what these, um, what this tool can do and like, um, on with other approaches as well, is to really get to know, uh, by talking to the market how their solutions can answer the challenges, specific challenges that a city has.
Gretel Schaj 00:26:40 So you have a project idea and you say, maybe I want to, um, renovate, uh, a building, uh, I want to make it more energy efficient, right? You have some conditions maybe, um, it's um, you know, a building that's protected, uh, or it's a building that you don't own <laugh>, um, or have some control to that. So you put out there your challenges to the market and try to get, uh, their answers to your challenges. So as a city, you don't have to come up with all the solutions, of course you give direction, <laugh>, um, where you want to go, but then try and let the market answer that and really find what, what's the best case for that.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:27:22 David looks like he's interested in the topic. Do you have something to add there, do you think? Do you think cities need to be more transparent about their challenges also with the market?
David Škorňa 00:27:31 Yeah, yeah, definitely. If you want to, if you want to influence the, the solutions or your targets and be your priorities, and as I was mentioning in, in regard to the energy trans transformation, we need to talk to the partners. We need to talk to businesses, also banking sector, you know, and so on. Cuz um, it's, uh, at the end of the day it's also a matter of, of the funding, right, of the solution. And if you go higher and higher with technology, digitalization and so on, it's much more expensive. Uh, so you need to somehow also trigger from the beginning some kind of financial strategic how to, how to really implement it. Yeah. Because if it's like costly, the return of investment is like one, uh, one century, you can imagine how the politicians, uh, correctly will respond on that, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
David Škorňa 00:28:22 So we try to somehow also, and I think this is the, about the smart cities as well, about the thinking about the approaches. You, you, you just put, uh, on the table when you are discussing some, some projects that you need to, um, think about, uh, funding and collaboration from the beginning. It's a, it's exactly our case with the public, uh, buildings retrofit, it will be very costly cuz we have a very old buildings, but in the same time, um, uh, it's about schools, about uh, about the people who are in, in these buildings and we have to ensure and secure some kind of, uh, environment where they're in their having, you know, lessons and so on. But it's very costly and we have decided to use the EPC energy performance contract, uh, uh, scheme to trigger and to help us, uh, somehow, uh, exploit more diversity in funding. Cuz we have also EU grants in Czech Republic. So we, we will decrease the, the pressure on the budget by you funds, but the rest will be also funded through the EPC model. So the idea could be good, but funding could be very tricky. But if you come with, um, also funding, uh, funding strategic, uh, you can also involve and include some more technology and smart solutions. It could because the funding scheme might, might handle with this solutions.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:29:51 Yeah, absolutely. And and that's one challenge that we've seen a lot with cities that we also try to support with at BABLE is the funding aspect. How could we get money to, to actually support this? So, um, we're running a bit out of time, so I want to give you though the opportunity now to talk about, um, anything if you feel like you need the floor, do you feel like you've covered all the topics you wanted to talk about today or do you want to talk about anything else? Either one of you
David Škorňa 00:30:18 The lady first.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:30:20 <laugh> You don't have to take the floor. I just like giving it, you know.
Gretel Schaj 00:30:27 No, I think David has lots of to share from Czech Republic and all the work you do.
David Škorňa 00:30:34 Yeah, well yeah, we are, there was also, um, amazing moment when we, where we were introducing our strategy and our vision, you know, for 2030 and 2050, which is if you count in, it's like, uh, what, uh, 15 mandates of politicians. So it's very far away. So it is very, I would say a tough job. But we try to accommodate this since we are also triggering the bold vision system and we, we really need to discuss it, what that means for long term period. But, um, it was a moment when we were discussing what's that means for the implementation, right? So we have prepared like 30 project proposals or something like that. And now we are, depends on capacity we have, and this is something which is also, um, good moment from SPARCS and after SPARCS or parallel to SPARCS things because the sparks is helping us also with the capacity building. And in the Czech environment, it's not very easy to let's say hire good experts and to get some more funding for another colleagues to help steer your needs you have within the city administration. So the prioritization is very, very helpful. And this all leads to do also some innovation projects. For instance, we are very curious to see the cases in the Europe regarding the energy communities exploitations. We are now preparing one of the project as well for that. So maybe to be edited like that.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:32:11 Yeah, very exciting things coming for Kladno. It's, it's gonna be really interesting to watch. I think we're gonna have to do another podcast episode in a, in a year or so and or however long those projects take and really see all the steps you've taken. So, um, so now it's time for one of a fun segment parts, um, <laugh> get ready and excited. So this is a segment that we could call Flip the Script. You are the one asking the questions and I'll be the one answering them. So normally in flip the script, you are the one asking the questions and I'm the one answering them so the interviewer becomes the interviewee. Um, so, and normally that's, that's how it happens. But since we have two people here, I'm giving the burden now to, to Gretel in you. Um, David, do you have a special question that you would like to ask Gretel then?
David Škorňa 00:33:11 Hmm. There will be lots of questions. <laugh>. Yeah. Uh, probably, yeah. One could be - you pretty know Kladno already, right? Or you can at least imagine from your experience similarities with the similar background. For instance, the industrial, you have also Westfalen and this kind of regions where they compete with the situation. What would be like your, um, I would say approach or maybe, uh, let's say some, some tools from your input when you would be the part of the city administration or similar city in that city, you know how to change the situation if you see the cloud and you saw the situation with in the German cities. Sorry, it's a harsh one. Sorry.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:33:58 No, it's a nice question. I think, uh,
Gretel Schaj 00:34:00 That's how you both welcome me to the podcast.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:34:02 <laugh>, first time you, you gotta get thrown in the water a little bit, you know, <laugh>.
Gretel Schaj 00:34:07 Yeah, well if, if that happens, then I'll definitely call you. I have your number and I'll call you David. Like, how, how do I start with this? Um, and I'm actually taking note of all you have done. Um, and it just, besides the joke, um, it's really, it's really learning from others. Um, I think in many of these cases we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Um, of course each city context is unique and different from others. Uh, but there is so much that thinking creatively we can take and adapt. Um, I, I take from you the really this engagement, uh, with a broad base of stakeholders, those that have also a lot of stake in this issues. Also engaging with the city sense and, and really leveraging on different opportunities, like as you said, really building on what SPARCS has created, taking into other projects, engaging with cities that are similar, uh, but also those that are maybe not so similar.
Gretel Schaj 00:35:15 Sometimes you learn from something else they have done. Um, we learn every day from talking to cities, from all over Europe on how they're addressing their different challenges, how they engage, uh, with stakeholders. And yeah, at the end I think we don't have to forget, we are people, uh, we talk to each other and there of course, uh, the scenarios are complex, the challenges are complex, but I think thinking creatively, collaborating, working with each other and talking to each other and building on that can progressively make a big change. Hopefully that change comes at the right time when we need it.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:35:55 So now. <laugh> there is a sense of urgency. Yes, yes. Very good question and very good answer. So well done. You've, uh, successfully completed the, the task. Um, so, uh, there's only one question left in the whole episode, sadly. I know. Very sad. But, uh, the question is, the question we asked to every single guest, and it is to you, what is a Smart City?
David Škorňa 00:36:21 Smarter city? I would say it's smart people. It's uh, about people all the time. You know, if there are smart people, that means they are open, open to exploit new, new things, innovations, new ideas from colleagues from, I dunno, and other cities. It's about opening yourself for the new knowledge in, in the sense that we are the fellow cities, we suppose to that as well. And we want to do that as well. And uh, yeah, and I think the partnership is behind the definition of the Smart Cities. And, and at the top of that there's technology and digitalization which might help you to steer these kind of ideas and to help you trigger what you think or your colleagues think, you know, otherwise digitalization without these smart people behind or without, for instance, any efficient processes which are invented by smart people, right? Digitalization and this technology steering, this kind of things would be much more slow and not that efficient. So I think it's about the people, about the people who are just the core and denominator of the Smart City.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:37:33 Good answer. Do did, was that a good answer for you, Gretel? Do you want to add anything?
Gretel Schaj 00:37:39 I think, I think he passed the test <laugh>.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:37:41 Yeah. Yeah. Check and check. I give you all the gold medals or uh, whatever, whatever it might be. Um, you win a beer and that's, that's popular in Czech Republic, right? So, um, <laugh> treat you to a beer later on. Um, that wonderful. So been a really big pleasure. Um, so this is just when I come to you and say thank you for coming onto the podcast and for such a nice, fantastic discussion today to both of you. Um, and it's always fun to talk to the SPARCS partners. It's been really, uh, an interesting journey for me to getting more info, um, from the insiders of, of the project. Um, also hearing about so many cool things from Gretel just all the time that you all are doing. So, um, yeah, thank you <laugh>, thank you so much for coming on.
David Škorňa 00:38:29 Thank you for your invitation. Thank you.
Gretel Schaj 00:38:31 Yeah, thanks for having me. It was really fun to be here.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:33 I'm glad it wasn't too, too stressful, right? <laugh>. Okay, good, good. You can tell all the, all the future interviewees that, um, that it's very chill here on the podcast. It was, it was <laugh> and, uh, and of course if you want to find out more about the SPARCS Project, we'll link that in the show notes for you too. You can find also on the platform, um, lots of different use cases. For example, Espoo I know is, has uploaded many different interesting Use Cases from the project. And, um, yeah, and take a listen to that podcast episode also, um, and to all of our listeners, um, yeah, on the platform that I mentioned, you can always create a free account on bable-smartcities.eu and you can find out more about projects like SPARCS different solutions, implementations, all of that jazz.
Tamlyn Shimizu 00:39:27 Thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban life.