#35 Leuven & Sant Feliu de Llobregat: "The Key Of What We Are Doing Is Collaboration"

Episode 41 June 16, 2023 00:50:57
#35 Leuven & Sant Feliu de Llobregat: "The Key Of What We Are Doing Is Collaboration"
Smart in the City – The BABLE Podcast
#35 Leuven & Sant Feliu de Llobregat: "The Key Of What We Are Doing Is Collaboration"

Jun 16 2023 | 00:50:57


Hosted By

Tamlyn Shimizu

Show Notes

In this first episode sponsored by Red Española de Ciudades Inteligentes (RECI), it was our great pleasure to meet with Manuel Gonzalez – Chief Information Officer for the City of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain and David Dessers Deputy Mayor Mobility, Climate and Sustainability, Agriculture and Consumption of the City of Leuven, Belgium.


With them, we discussed the challenges both cities are facing, digitalisation, sustainability, international collaboration and more!


Remembering RECI from somewhere? Go back and listen to our episode in Spanish with Verónica Ramírez , director of operations of the Smart City Cluster and  Javier Ridruejo , former general secretary of Red Española de Ciudades Inteligentes.


Overview of the episode:

01:59 - Teaser: What do our guests have in common?

04:01 - What is David's background?

06:12 - What is Manuel's background?

07:44 - Leuven in three sentences

08:45 - Sant Feliu in three sentences

09:41 - What are the initiatives happening in Leuven currently?

12:37 - What are the initiatives happening in Sant Feliu currently?

14:06 - How has Leuven embraced digital innovation to enhance the city's sustainability efforts?

17:24 - How do the digital innovation initiatives of Leuven compare to the work that Sant Feliu is doing?

18:54 - How can more cooperation between Spain and Belgium progress David and Manuel's work?

21:39 - What are the biggest milestones in Sant Feliu' and Leuven's journey towards sustainability?

29:03 - What are the main challenges Sant Feliu and Leuven are facing?

41:13 - Roll with the Punches: our guests answer 'this or that' questions quickly and with their first instincts

47:07 - Ending Question: To you, what is a Smart City?


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Want to join us for an episode? Contact our host Tamlyn Shimizu.


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View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Tamlyn Shimizu 00:00:06 Welcome to Smart in the City, the BABLE podcast, where we bring together top actors in the smart city arena, sparking dialogues and interactions around the stakeholders and themes most prevalent for today's citizens and tomorrow's generations. I am your host, Tamlyn Shimizu, and I hope you will enjoy this episode and gain knowledge and connections to accelerate the change for a better urban life. Smart in the city is brought to you by BABLE Smart Cities. We enable processes from research and strategy development to co-creation and implementation. To learn more about us, please visit the BABLE platform at bable-smartcities.eu. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:00:45 So welcome to another episode of Smart in the City. I'm sitting in the beautiful city of Leuven in Belgium, uh, situated just around 25 kilometers outside of Brussels. Um, I know I say this a lot, but today is a very special episode, <laugh>. Um, it's brought to you by the Spanish Network of Smart Cities, RECI. Um, our Spanish followers might remember that, uh, from our episode in Spanish that we did. If you want to go listen to that one. And, um, we are also supporting them in facilitating exchanges through the medium of the podcast, between Spanish cities and other European cities. So this is the, actually the first occasion that our guests have met each other. So I'm really excited to have this conversation, uh, together with you on the podcast. Um, and I'm very glad to introduce them to you today. So first, I would like to introduce you to our city host today at David Dessers. He's the Deputy Mayor of mobility, climate and sustainability, agriculture and consumption for the city of Leuven in Belgium. Welcome onto the show, David. David Dessers 00:01:47 Hello. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:49 Nice to have you here. And thanks for welcoming us here. David Dessers 00:01:52 Nice to have you here in Leuven<laugh>. Uh, it's always, uh, a pleasure to, uh, meet, uh, people, uh, here in Leuven. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:59 Yeah, absolutely. I'm looking forward to later today getting to explore more of Leuven. We just came from straight from the train station. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So we haven't seen much, but it's beautiful view here. Also, by the way, outside of David's office, so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, wonderful. So his counterpart today in the episode is visiting Leuven for the first time, and I'm really thrilled to have him here. Um, his name is Manuel Gonzalez. He's the Chief Information Officer for the City of San Feliu de Llobregat in Spain. Welcome, Manuel. Thanks so much for you both coming on. So, um, usually we get started with the podcast with a little bit of a teaser question to get warmed up. And that question is, what do you think you both have in common, David? David Dessers 00:02:48 It's the first time that I meet, uh, Manuel, so it's not so easy to know what we have in common. I think what we have certainly in common is that it's engagement city, uh, in this case, the city, um, I'm sorry, I'm still learning it a little bit. <laugh>, uh, and in my case it's the city of Leuven. And then I think, uh, that's already something we have, uh, certainly in common, but I'm very curious to hear, uh, what is going on in the city of Manuel, and maybe we have much more in common than we think. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:03:20 I think you might, we'll, we'll get to that. So, Manuel, do you, what do you think you two have in common? Manuel Gonzalez 00:03:25 I have, think about it. Uh, and it's not easy. I have, uh, I suppose we have two main topics. We have in common. One, we both need to face similar challenges. Uh, increasing population, new crisis such as the Coronavirus, the war. We fight the climate change nowadays, the complexity of the quality goes beyond human compression. Cause we need to use intelligent tools is I think is, is the, the most important thing and can help us to face these new challenges and successfully both resilient and sustainable, uh, communities. I think it's the, the, the most important thing. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:04:01 Yeah, absolutely. I think, uh, well, we'll dig into that a little bit more coming up. So, um, first I would love to give a little bit of your background story onto who you are, really. Um, so David, maybe you can tell us a bit about your personal background. Um, what led you to work for the city of Leuven? David Dessers 00:04:24 Yeah. I, uh, became, um, active in politics, um, in 2012, but before I was already, uh, very active, uh, on societal topics, especially climate change. So I have a background as a climate activist, uh, organized, for example, together with many other people. The first climate demonstration in Belgium in 2006, uh, we also in 2009 organized a train towards the summit of Copenhagen, the climate summit of Copenhagen 1000. Belgians went to Copenhagen with that train to demonstrate and put pressure on that summit. But that summit, uh, was a disappointment. Uh, at that time, um, Barack Obama was the, the elected president in the, in the United States. And so the hopes were high that Copenhagen would, uh, deliver a climate treaty, but it didn't happen. And so we were all a little bit disappointed. And then we were thinking like, okay, if it's not working on that level, then maybe cities can, uh, already take their responsibility and, uh, do their part of the job. So instead of hoping of change from above, we were turning it upside down and saying like, change can also come from below. And that was for me, a reason to become active in local politics. First as a city counselor between 2012 and 2018, and since 2019 as deputy mayor here of the city. And of course, it's one of the reasons why LN has such an ambitious climate policy also today. That's a little bit of story. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:06:12 That's a great story actually coming really from this bottom up approach. And I imagine that really brings you further in politics as well, having that experience beforehand. So thanks for sharing. Um, maybe, uh, Manuel, can you give us a little bit of your backstory? Where do you come from? How did you end up, uh, where you are? Manuel Gonzalez 00:06:31 I started working in, uh, and the role of public administration was very reduced to few areas. And indeed in Spain, uh, over past decade, public administration role has been crazy and reaching all the fears of the everyday in life and the citizens, I find very gratifying being a part of, of it from my point of day. And that my work can contribute to making the life of people easier and be happier from technological perspective. That's mine. It's been a personal challenge because when I started working, technology wasn't known in the public administration. It was only used for private companies or however in the present, public administration has in reference, uh, reference sector, uh, in the field and can use its influence to live in positions to boost and support of the sectors. Now it's real. So they can also take advantage of the benefits of digital transformation. And concrete in San Feliu is very important. The history, uh, we have always been considered to provide a long-term open source solution that always been one step ahead, being prepared for the future challenges. Mm-hmm. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:07:37 <affirmative>. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so taking this very, uh, forward thinking approach with, with your work, I Manuel Gonzalez 00:07:43 Always fighting every day. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:07:44 Okay, good. Good to hear. Um, it also something you might have in common, <laugh>. Um, so, uh, I have a question. Uh, if you can describe your city now, um, so that we give a little background of, of your cities. If you can describe your city in around three sentences, how would you describe it? David? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. David Dessers 00:08:06 Yeah. Uh, Leuven is a mid-sized city with 100,000 inhabitants, but also more than 50,000 students. And that makes that this rather small city is in the same time a very cosmo political and lively city. And, um, maybe, uh, the third sentence is it is a growing city. It is growing very, very fastly. So the population is growing, the university is growing, the jobs are growing, and that creates lots of challenges for our city. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:08:39 Yeah. Very good. I don't know how many sentences it was, but I I accept it more David Dessers 00:08:43 Than three <laugh>. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:08:45 No, you know, we can, we can put some coms in there. It works. Um, good. Uh, Manuel, can you describe, uh, San Feliu? Manuel Gonzalez 00:08:54 I'll try in three. Okay. Uh, first San is solidarity and welcoming a place where newcomers has been embraced and where the diversity of cultures live in a questionary way. Second, I think San Feliu is environmentally friendly, implementing projects in the field, uh, renewable energy, sustainable consumption, and smart mobility, carrying out action to mitigate another climate change, protecting its natural space. And for my part I think it's important too. <inaudible> is innovate, innovate, promoting new types of economy, the orange and silver, and creating products to support buy and incubate accelerating technology, basket innovation projects have several examples. We will see after they are very interested for young people. Yeah, yeah. For talent, looking for the talent. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:41 Absolutely. And, and I think it's also interesting to note your location just six kilometers away from Barcelona, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so that it has a lot of influence mm-hmm. <affirmative> in the city. Correct? Very. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Um, good. So I would like to get a little bit more into the projects initiatives going on in the cities. Um, so David, what, uh, what do you think are the initiatives that are happening in Leuven that are most important, um, for the city currently? What are you working on personally as well? David Dessers 00:10:12 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, well, one of the main projects in our city is called, uh, liven 2030. That's the goal to become a climate neutral city towards 2030. We know that that's a very hard job. Um, it will be already, uh, good if it would be climate neutral towards 2050, but the European Commission selected 100 climate neutral as smart cities as they call it. Uh, it's a European mission. And Leuven has been selected as one of these 100 European cities. And the European Commission expects that we make an acceleration of this climate transition. And so that makes that, again, the goal become 2030 to be climate neutral, which will be of course a very, uh, tough job. But maybe I can tell something about how we work on it, because that's a little bit, I would say typical for our city. The key of what we are doing is collaboration. David Dessers 00:11:18 Collaboration. So we know that, for example, the local government cannot declare that Louisville will be climate neutral. We need the engagement of all the stakeholders in this city. And so we created an organization which is called Louis 2030, in which citizens, civil society organizations do university, the city itself, businesses, uh, and also, uh, public institutions like the bus company, the energy company, they are all coming together in that organizations, in that organization working together, inspiring each other in order to take steps forward. And especially the role of the university is key in it because we are blessed with an enormous, uh, uh, good qualitative university. And so there is so much expertise also on the technical level at that university. We have a company like ime, for example, which is world famous technology, uh, company. The fact that we can work together with all these smart people, uh, yeah, is an enormous advantage. And so we can only have success when we collaborate with the citywide stakeholders. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:12:37 Yeah, absolutely. Um, Manuel, what, how do you see it, is there, um, what initiatives are going on in San Feliu? Do you see any, um, comparisons there? Manuel Gonzalez 00:12:48 I'm agree with, with him because we haven't come. Another question from the first question. We have the common, uh, 23 agendas. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> is very, very, very important. The digital agenda, the urban agenda we have on the, the United Nation and the, uh, European agendas. My job is to make innovate from technological point of view. My job is to make innovate projects happen in my department. We are dedicated to provide some flavor with technological infrastructure, such, such, uh, brain for it. It's a product we have make it opensource, the timeless per system, which enabled the collection and exploitation data, as well as the intelligent operation. And the Scality ofs. Also, we're working to concrete examples, have deployment of the, to manage buildings throughout the life cycle and effectively predictive models that anticipate the situation of vulnerability and digital gap and allow reactive and preventive action to municipal, uh, services at the finish. Another example is the operational center to, to andro in respected, and we can, we're making it. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:14:06 Um, yeah. That's very nice. So David, how has Leuven really embraced digital innovation then? Um, because we're talking to the chief information officer really on this technological side, and I'm wondering, uh, if you know about any kind of innovation, uh, initiatives going on in Leuven mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how is that supporting the sustainability efforts? David Dessers 00:14:27 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there, there is a lot of innovation going on in our city. Again, the university plays an important role in this. And we are also working together with the university and some other knowledge institutions in what we call the eleven twenty thirty Urban Lab. And the Urban Lab is focused on specific, innovative, uh, projects, also research projects in order to match them with the needs of the city. And of course, we need all kind of technological solutions for, uh, in, in, in the, the politics that we are doing today. I give an example in Learn the, uh, was developed a little, it is a kind of, uh, citizen science application, a little, um, yeah. Um, computer, let's say that is counting the traffic that is passing, uh, in front of a house. So you just put it at the window and it is counting the number of cars, the number of bicycles, the number of heavy traffic, but also the speed of this. David Dessers 00:15:39 In, in, in Dutch it's called now. It's spreading all over the world. It's even in the United States. Uh, they started with Telegram. And in English we call it, we count. We count. And so we have hundreds of these, uh, apparatus, uh, in all kind of buildings in Leuven. And so it is a permanent source of information about what is going on in our city, on the level of traffic. And so we can use this when we, for example, are making mobility plans for the city. Then we use all the da, all these data we can use to make plans. So it is, uh, the basis for making policy. And we are very proud that Tel or recount is developed by an organization here in Leuven, because as I said, it is all over Europe and even in the United States today. And the same goes for other, um, uh, for other topics. David Dessers 00:16:44 I think data is sometimes they say the new goals, but it is extremely important, for example, when you want to do, to realize that climate transition, that transition toward, towards the climate neutral future, the monitoring of it is a very complex thing. And also their technology can help us and is helping us in order to know are we effective? Are we having an impact with the measures we are taking? So we are absolutely open for, uh, for all kinds of, uh, techno technological innovation that can help us, uh, in this, uh, transition we are doing. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:17:24 I'm so glad you mentioned, uh, teleram also, David, because we're actually going to go visit, um, later today during our city visit too. So you'll get to see it mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, see the technology in in person as well as later today. Yes, yes. You could take notes. Exactly. Um, good. Uh, what about you, Manuel? Manuel Gonzalez 00:17:48 it's not easy to compare. With work, uh, with, uh, labor, with our unknown 11 innovation initiatives in Dev, we know that in order to implement innovation, we need to provide your city of a technological infrastructure that allows to do so. For example, we work in development application in the cloud, then, uh, we in open source manage infrastructure, store solution can be reused by any municipality such as 11. To develop their own projects based on the own units, then I think is the most important. What I can do, you can do too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and is what we do. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:18:26 Yeah. Do you also work on this like open source, um, kind of topic? David Dessers 00:18:30 Yeah, yeah. That's very important. Uh, when we are working together, uh, with, uh, companies or organizations, we try as much as possible to have, uh, uh, open data. Uh, data can be, uh, uh, open for everybody who's interested in its open source is absolutely, uh, an important, uh, an important thing. So, no, that's, uh, something we're, we're following. Yeah. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:18:54 Yeah. Good. And, and I like that you also, David also, um, alluded to before, how important collaboration is. Cuz that's one of the goals of bringing you both here today, as well as seeing how we can exchange between Spanish, Belgium, cities mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, I'm wondering, uh, if you can dive it, maybe explain, how do you think that there could be more cooperation between Spanish cities and Belgium cities? Um, what do you, what do you hope also to gain from this exchange? David Dessers 00:19:23 Well, I'm very curious about all the projects going on in, uh, the, the city of, uh, of Manuel. Um, <laugh>, I learned it, uh, in the meantime. Uh, but, um, no, I think cities can help each other. Uh, a lot we're, Manuel said it already, and I think it's very important. We're all in front of the same challenges. We're all in front of the same problems, uh, et cetera. And so we can also share solutions, good practices, things that work well. And it's such a huge thing we have to do. For example, on the technological level, we're experimenting today a lot with, um, sustainable heat projects, for example, like geo aqua, et cetera. We know that the potential is very big in our city, but we are only only taking the first steps in it. So we are having new projects also on that level of renewable energy, et cetera. We're always interested in, um, yeah, learning of other cities, what are they doing to, to make it work, et cetera. So I can imagine we can learn a lot from each other. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:20:35 Yeah, absolutely. Manuel, what do you think went well, um, what do you hope to gain from this exchange? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Manuel Gonzalez 00:20:41 This collaboration can be especially positive for these main reasons. I think there are three reasons. First, it will allow to us exchange knowledge and experience. Improve the capacities, the capacities, uh, and learn from each other. We will also be able to share solution that have proven to use in our municipalities. Also, you know, makes stronger <laugh> by operating. We, we will be able to create the roast, uh, we have at your disposal in order to accelerate and perfect the solutions. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> more is cooperating with national networks, such national networks of Mercedes cities in city projects and other areas. This corporation, San will open the access to other or our respective intrastate networks that mm-hmm. <affirmative> will make possible that benefits of the transfer of the knowledge not only happen with the country, but also between the state members. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:21:39 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Absolutely. I think that there's, um, I, I hope to gain also maybe a little bit from my perspective and why we brought you two together is, um, I think that the cooperation across, um, across countries is, it happens, right? You, you see it happening in, in all the networks and all of these things. But sometimes in my experience, what this podcast has done and, and bringing people together on this one-on-one basis outside is just a little go deeper into some of the core issues mm-hmm. <affirmative> and go deeper into the similar challenges. Um, and also just getting new perspectives. So, uh, you come from David, the political side of things. Maybe you're, you are working more on this technological side of things mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but bringing together these perspectives usually, um, sometimes sparks new ideas. Mm. Also mm-hmm. So I'm hoping that this sparks some ideas between you two as well today. And we're gonna go to a nice lunch and talk more off also after this. So we'll inform everyone on, on what comes outta this. But, um, good. So I, I wanna dig deeper into some of like the use cases, projects and, and success stories that you both have had. Um, maybe to, to get to these new ideas. So Manuel, what do you, um, consider to be maybe the biggest success story or milestone in your city's journey, um, towards, you know, sustainability, smart city development? What do you think? Are these like core milestones? Manuel Gonzalez 00:23:06 Well, San Feliu implemented a strategy for digital transformation and smart city SAN 2020 a strategic before the 2030 <laugh>. Long time ago, a few years ago, thanks to this implementation, 120 initiatives were tested and about 80 nowadays of them still active in the present. Many of the projects include, uh, has been awarded and recognize a good practice and have served to reference for another municipalities, some examplers, the development of the city operating system, operating system of mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it's a good reference. The trans portal is to, to the people. Citizen goes to take information of our municipality transparent. The, um, document managing tool is, we say that geometrics is a, is a platform. You can, you have all the information in a document, just, um, management, and you can make any application, uh, very easy, very easy with without make verticals to, to have to buy verticals. Manuel Gonzalez 00:24:11 Uh, being rocket is the, the political explain policy have explained before. And now for new project, it's to change the, the 2020 station. We have a local coin, virtual local coin, say the, like the, you have seen, we are the city of the, and it's an I of a digital coin that aims to boost local business to local trade. Its proposed as a measure to activity after the impact, the pandemic, uh, where if some risk too, we know because people, they maybe they'll have devices or accessibility problems. It's not easy. It's a difficult project, but we think maybe a good, very good project. David Dessers 00:24:53 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:54 Very interesting. Um, doing anything similar, David, or, David Dessers 00:24:58 Yeah, I'm looking more from a political perspective Yeah. To things. Uh, but that's, that's interesting. You know, you have the more technical approach and the more political approach. Um, of course the, when we are talking about this, climate transition mobility has a, a very specific place in, uh, in this transition. Mobility is, uh, responsible for 25% of the CO2 emissions in our city. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So we need to make the shift towards a sustainable mobility. We are trying to do that in all kinds of ways. Uh, for example, promoting bicycles, of course, promoting public transport. There, we, the challenge is to have, uh, more electrification. We are even thinking about maybe autonomous vehicles in our city. So we are taking the first steps we're, uh, together with IEC and others, uh, preparing a project for, uh, an autonomous shuttle, uh, going through our city that's also very technical or technological, uh, challenging, let's say. David Dessers 00:26:05 Uh, we also build it, um, more than 40, what we call mobi points or E hubs. And these are places where we have an offer of shared mobility modes like, uh, bicycles or, uh, cargo bikes, cars. It can be in combination with public transport, et cetera. And you can find them at certain locations to make them very accessible. But one of our things today, one of the challenges today is also to see how can we do, uh, these things in a socially just way, because that's also very important. And therefore, it's a concrete exam example that I want to give. We're working together with a technology, uh, enterprise iMac, um, and we are developing a system which makes, because you need an app to use a shared mobility mode mm-hmm. <affirmative> to make that people below a certain income category automatically when they use the app, have another ation of it. So, you know, it is a, a Tamlyn Shimizu 00:27:17 Different price. David Dessers 00:27:18 Another price, okay. Yeah. To use it mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, and that makes that you can Yeah. A discount. So you can, uh, make it possible that people with low income, um, so more the, the people in precarious situations can also use these vehicles, but, uh, pay less for it without that, you know, without anybody know it, you know, so it is, and therefore we need a technological solution and that we developed in the recent periods, and we want to apply it now. So technology can also help mm-hmm. <affirmative> to, uh, organize things in a more social way. Um, and this shared mobility plays more and more an important role. So how to make ACC accessible for everybody. That's one of the, uh, the, the questions we are, uh, answering at the moment. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:28:14 Ah, very interesting. Are you worried that people will view it as not fair because it's, and giving people different prices? David Dessers 00:28:21 Yeah. I'm worried about the fact that, for example, to say it very basically that poor people has to go to stand in another line, A line for poor people or something like that. Yeah. And that would be very much embarrassing. You know, we don't, dividing people, dividing people, et cetera. So it is absolutely defendable, of course, that people with low income has a discount on the price. And so organizing that in a way that, you know, that it's just going in an automatic way, that it's going automatically. Uh, therefore we need technological applications and that we developed in the recent period, and we will imply this now in the coming period. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:29:03 Really interesting. I also, as a communication specialist also, um, see this really close tie between this technological solution and being able to communicate about this is super important mm-hmm. <affirmative> so that we don't see this division between these classes. Right. So, exactly. Yeah. Um, yeah, that's, I love this tie between, uh, having a really good technological solution and being able to communicate it really well to citizens. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, um, wonderful, Manuel, I was wondering, um, uh, if you could talk about any, um, any challenges as well. Um, do you have any, any ideas on, on, uh, what are the main challenges San Feliu is facing? Manuel Gonzalez 00:29:43 Well, uh, in San Feliu I think for us it's very important, the connection with national networks. We have, uh, special sensibility, uh, in particular to collaborate projects at national level, that we are part for different networks with different objectives. We, we have, I think we have three main parts. The smart territory, the citizen, and the digital administration. We are the three big parts, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and this parts in the smart, uh, on territory. In this part, we have, for example, the <inaudible> I have spent before an network, which we collaborate with as smart city projects. And for example, the BIM strategy. We are making now a document, uh, to help other cities to deploy a beam model in the city that we think they can do. And we can do the generation of detailed twins. That is very important today. Uh, for us, it's a very important project. Manuel Gonzalez 00:30:46 And if you put in the middle, in the citizen, uh, we, we think that there is, uh, innovation projects that are very, very, very important. We speaking in the, the, the network. I said before we have the, that is, uh, meeting forum for those cities council with the distinction of city of science innovation. We have this implementation of local how ize among others. And in the third part, in the digital administration with another networks like the fam famous, uh, Federation of Spanish municipalities and counties, eh, which we cooperate with issues of innovation, transparency, social services, interpreting agenda, digital agenda with another challenge is very, very, very important. And we have, uh, also, uh, Catalonia administration, government that help us with solution in digital administration, free solutions for the municipal that are, uh, very, very important to, to finish the, the transformation of the digital administration. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:31:54 Yeah. Very good. So that's, that must be a, a challenge coordinating between Manuel Gonzalez 00:31:59 11 to access this connect with other networks. Maybe, maybe with we, we are fans from innovation and maybe mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:32:07 Yeah, absolutely. Um, David, maybe you can, you can allude to some, um, main challenges that the city is facing. So, um, what, what isn't going very well, maybe <laugh>, um, it's the 2030s, the fastest, right? There must be a lot of challenges. David Dessers 00:32:29 Yeah. Yeah. There are a lot of challenges. As I said, the biggest challenge for us as a city is the fact that we're a falsely growing city. That there are, uh, some years, uh, there are, uh, there is an increase of 1000 inhabitants in one year. So in the last 20 years, we welcomed more than 15,000 new inhabitants. And also this, this university is growing a lot. So more people, more students, and as I said, also more jobs. And that creates all kinds of challenges on the level of services, on the level of housing policy, on the level of, um, mobility. Uh, we often say there is no problem that more than 1000 people are coming each year. There is only a problem if they all come by car, because then we will. And so we, we need to make many shifts in order to, to be prepared and, and to be, to be ready for, uh, having this growth and having this, uh, you know, it, it should stay livable for everyone. David Dessers 00:33:34 Yeah. And this, this creates lots, lots, lots of, of challenges. And I think, uh, technology can, can, can help us a lot. For example, there is a, it's just a small example. Um, but you know, one of the challenges is you have many, many students living in the same city as many inhabitants families with children, et cetera, while they don't have the same rhythm of life, let's say. So for example, in the city center, there's a lot of problem with noise. During the night on these main roads where there are many, many students during the night, we installed some microphones that are registering the noise that is produced, so that we, first of all, we know what is happening. We know how loud the noise is, we know at what hour it's, uh, it is. And with all this data we collected, we are now taking measures in order to try to have a solution for it. David Dessers 00:34:39 And we are doing it with, for example, nudging, uh, nudging methods, for example. Uh, less light in the streets or even, uh, projections of messages that you can do. And we see that it, we are getting results of it. Uh, if you have, for example, less light in the street, um, people are automatically, uh, being more silent because it gives the idea like, we're in the night. Uh, and so it's very interesting. It's also a, a, a smart city, uh, solution, I think. But, uh, you know, before we just said, okay, we sent some, uh, some policemen, and then, uh, the problem will be solved until the next day, and then it starts again. So we are now with all these information, with these microphones we installed, et cetera, trying to have solutions more in a structural way. Yeah. Because, you know, many people living together in a re relative small city Yeah. Creates of course, all kinds of challenges. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:35:42 Absolutely. Information is power and it gives you information David Dessers 00:35:45 Is power. Yeah, yeah. Manuel Gonzalez 00:35:46 I'm agree. Has noise problem too. Really. We have big roads and train and is a big problem. We have ized this noise, and then you can, you have to take some decision from this information. Mm-hmm. We have a lot of information. Yeah. And then we have to take decisions. David Dessers 00:36:03 Yeah. Is the important thing. And the, the starting point very often is object, vision, knowing what is going on because, you know, people can also subjectively experience some problems, but then, you know, you, you should be sure about what is happening. Exactly. For example, the speed of traffic in the street, it happens very often that people are saying like, uh, cars are driving, uh, too fast in my street. It's, uh, the speed is much too high, et cetera. And then when you start measuring it, you see that it's not true. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that the absolute fast majority of the cars is not riding too fast, but you know, therefore you need to measure it. And then you know it, and then if you know, okay, there is a, there is a real problem, then you can take measures, et cetera. That in that sense information, indeed is the, the having goods correct data is the start for, uh, finding solutions or, um, just seeing that the problem is not as big as, as we thought. Manuel Gonzalez 00:37:12 Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I'm agree. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:37:14 Yeah. Perfect. Um, I do want to give you a minute, um, as an open floor, like I like to give, um, in case we didn't get the chance yet to talk about anything that you're very passionate about. Anything that we, uh, didn't touch on yet. Um, you don't have to take the open floor, but I always give it as an option. Um, David, have anything in mind mm-hmm. <affirmative> that you didn't get the chance to talk about today? David Dessers 00:37:40 Huh? We were talking about technology, but maybe I just want to stress that, uh, technology is very much important, is very much important. But technology is not everything. Technological tools can be part of a solution, but should always fit in a broader, uh, uh, in a broader approach. I think, for example, when we are, when I was talking about the shared mobility modes and how we try in a technolo technological way, making them more accessible for low income people, uh, people with low income, then we see that there is a technological solutions, but there are also other obstacles for people for using, for example, an electric cargo bike. And the obstacle, the obstacle can, can also be, I cannot drive, I cannot ride with this bike. I never learned it. Or the obstacle can be, I don't understand the language or the obstacle can be, uh, I don't know how to, uh, use an app to open the, and so it should be a combination of technological tools at the one hand. David Dessers 00:38:51 And at the, at the other hand, also other actions you can take, for example, assisting people, learning people. We have a, we have a bicycle school, cyclist school, especially for adult people who didn't learn to ride a bike. Uh, that can be, for example, refugees, international students, but also just ordinary people from lu. Uh, they, not everybody learned to ride a bike. And as an adult, it is a, it is sometimes difficult to learn these skills. And so we created a school where people can learn it because that can be, you know, also a very stupid obstacle. And so I, I, I think that's more the, the, the holistic approach we need. Yeah. Uh, the approach of, at the one hand, technological, um, solutions and technological tools, very important. And at the other hand, also sometimes very low tech solutions or just, uh, personal, uh, or let, let social initiatives, et cetera. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> to, uh, take away obstacles. And together it can be very strong and it can, uh, deliver, uh, real solutions and success. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:40:01 Yeah, absolutely. Uh, Manuel, did you have anything else that you wanted to add today? Manuel Gonzalez 00:40:07 Well, we, we, I think we have two big problems. One is social problem, the digital gap I think we have, uh, over the table. And the other is we must be resilient to any problem we have and our resiliency. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:40:22 Mm-hmm. Manuel Gonzalez 00:40:23 <affirmative>, we have to resolve these two big problems and not, it's not so easy. Yeah. Is important, uh, to work in misuse of our Orion that have preventing increasing this digital gap in, we test the pilot of predictive model. I have before, uh, situation with the digital encryption plan to fail against this, against it. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:40:43 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah, absolutely. Can. It's a predictive model is what you're talking about. Manuel Gonzalez 00:40:49 It's a practical project. A Tamlyn Shimizu 00:40:51 Practical project. Manuel Gonzalez 00:40:53 We take measures with, uh, application. We have application if with information, and we mix with another information with other databases mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and we can take, uh, futures, uh, models. Yeah. Taking this actual information and other information within other places. Another data is with, with big data. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:41:13 Yeah. Yeah. With big data. Yeah. Makes sense. Um, good. So, um, that's it with the main interview part. Now we get to play a little bit, uh, into our segment. Um, and this segment that we've chosen for you today is called shout out. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:41:28 Shout out, mention a person, an organization, or a city you think deserves more recognition in the field. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:41:39 So maybe a unique, um, yeah. Organization, uh, you can call out a certain person that you think doesn't get enough recognition as well. So, um, Manuel, do you want to start <laugh>? Uh, Manuel Gonzalez 00:41:53 It's not easy to, because, uh, thinking Inmar in the city. Yeah. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:41:57 <laugh> Manuel Gonzalez 00:41:58 Is concrete. I have to remember one thing, uh, 10 years ago, more or less. Uh, the, when everybody doesn't do anything about series or few people, I would like to shout to the city council of Barcelona. Barcelona. Uh, they develop it as is a platform, uh, sensor platforms that you can take information from iott, uh, devices from the city, and they make possible with an open source solution. Many municipalities take disinformation that we haven't, uh, and is, uh, a solution that we w we can work better. And this great project, uh, makes for us start working in the smart city area is was the beginning, begin, and it's clear example for how sharing knowledge and tools can make a difference. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:42:53 Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Um, so, uh, Barcelona was really leading the way clear in Manuel Gonzalez 00:42:59 The way in this, yeah. The first model and, um, is, is wonderful. That was the first, uh, open source solution for all municipalities if we began with this solution afterward, we can, we build the intelligent, we haven't the brain variety before over this, this, this level of iot, the information you're taking first from the city and you put on the city. And then we develop the other parts. We make it over these, uh, base, uh, lawyer, lawyer layer Tamlyn Shimizu 00:43:30 Layers over the layers. Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. Do you have a shout at, David Dessers 00:43:35 Well, I'm also following closely what Barcelona did in the last years. Uh, uh, like, like Manuel already said, I also went to a, a conference in Barcelona some years ago. It was the conference of the field cities. And, uh, I, uh, I met quite many cities. Another city I know very well, and I'm following and I think are doing great work is the, the city council of Gu Noble in France, for example. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but also, for example, a city like Amsterdam in, uh, in the Netherlands. And when we are talking about more about technological applications, one of the interesting things I see there is the way they're trying to involve, uh, the population in making policies, doing participation, uh, projects, et cetera. And also doing it with use of technological platforms. And so it was an inspiration for us to do that also here in lun. David Dessers 00:44:35 So we made a program, or we, we made a platform, which is called LUN Market, me. And, uh, for example, in the beginning of our, uh, uh, the period when we started, uh, with the, with the new, uh, local government, we organized as well in the streets as well online, a whole consultation in which people could give inputs, IDs, proposals for the, uh, policy agreement that we were making at that moment. And so many, many, many people, uh, use that platform, uh, did proposals. And many of these proposals we integrated in the program, we want to realize in the coming period. And also people, uh, get info Now. For example, you did this proposal, uh, what is the status of it today? It is applied, it is realized, it's still in the planning, et cetera. And so I think, uh, in the network of the field, the cities, the interesting things. David Dessers 00:45:38 Certainly also in Barcelona, what I learned is that, uh, digital applications can also help us enormously in, uh, involving people with the politics we are doing. And so this, this was an important, uh, inspiration I think. Um, and, uh, and we are still doing it. We recently, for example, we, we, we've made a, a new mobility plan for our biggest district outta the city center, which is called <inaudible>. It's 30,000 inhabitants. Uh, it was also still a little bit in the Covid period. And so again, we organized a digital platform in which they could, uh, not only give their IDs, but also for example, on maps, put sign, like here is a dangerous point. Uh, and they could also, um, experience a little bit with, yeah, what is happening if you reorganize a street, what do you think is important? Is it, uh, uh, space for cars? Or do you want more green? Or do you want, uh, uh, uh, separated bike lanes? But the space is limited, so each choice you make has consequences. And they could do it, you know, on an online platform and see immediately the consequences of these choices. And so these, uh, applications I think are very important in politics today. And I learned that from other cities, like I already mentioned. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:47:07 Yeah. Yeah. A lot of learning going on between this, uh, talking more with, uh, finding out more about the use cases that other cities are implying. So, um, good. So we have one last question. It's a question we ask every single guest, and it's, to you, what is a smart city? Manuel, you wanna go first? David Dessers 00:47:25 Well, in my Manuel Gonzalez 00:47:25 Opinion, the smart city itself is not the goal of, uh, we are working to achieve. Let's talk about social smart social cities. Yeah. Which ultimate objective is to improve the quality of life of the citizen to will smart social cities. We must place technology at the service of the people, like he explained before. Yeah. Is necessary to raise the limits of the smart series and start talking about the smart cities, about cities adapted to their cies. Cause there is not a equal, a smart series or different depends on the people, depends on the characters of the city. This is a model of urban development that integrates the city design, socioeconomic ability, and quality of lives. See the balance growing of this population. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:48:11 Very good. And yeah, echos a lot of what David was talking about before, right. This, uh, this holistic approach. Uh, David to add to that David Dessers 00:48:18 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, a smart city is a city in my view that prepares the future today. So, uh, a city that is not, uh, postponing or, uh, watching away from the problems that is preparing the future. And, uh, we can talk a lot about climate change and the climate transition, et cetera. But in fact, what we are trying to reach are, is a city that is, uh, livable, nice to live in a city that is affordable for people to live in a city that is, uh, a healthy city, a prosperous city, a city with clean air, all these things. And, um, so I think, um, yeah, that's the perspective we should grow. And I think a smart city is also a city that use all the possible tools existing to reach these goals. And so, um, yeah, that's in my view, a smart city. Uh, to be a smart, a smart, uh, to be a smart city. I think you need also some smart people, <laugh>. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:49:26 That's that's very true. And resourceful people. David Dessers 00:49:29 Resourceful people, of course. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:49:31 Absolutely. So with that, I want to thank you both, um, for being wonderful guests today. I hope you, I hope you enjoyed talking and I'm, I'm excited to also, um, see more of Louvin. Thank you so much, David, for welcoming us here today. Um, so yeah, thank you very much. Manuel Gonzalez 00:49:47 Thank you. Uh, thank you Raymond, for inviting us for future possible collaborations. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:49:54 Yeah, absolutely. David Dessers 00:49:55 No, it was a very nice talk. Uh, so, uh, thank you for this podcast, uh, talin and thank you for the nice dialogue, Manuel. Thank you. And special thanks also to rei, uh, to sponsor the trip of Manuel, uh, and make it possible that, uh, that your delegation could come to Lu. Thanks a lot. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:50:17 And to all of our listeners, uh, don't forget, you can always create a free account on BABLE Smart Cities, to find out more about smart city projects, solutions, implementations, all these cool things happening. Um, and with that, thank you so much. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:50:33 Thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban life.

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