#4 H22 City Expo: "Bringing out the super-hero in everyone"

Episode 4 April 05, 2022 00:27:32
#4 H22 City Expo: "Bringing out the super-hero in everyone"
Smart in the City – The BABLE Podcast
#4 H22 City Expo: "Bringing out the super-hero in everyone"

Apr 05 2022 | 00:27:32


Hosted By

Tamlyn Shimizu

Show Notes

Today, our journey toward a better urban life led us to the city of Helsingborg, Sweden.

In this episode, we sat down with Åsa Bjering, who works in international relations for the city, and we discussed the main event to come in Helsingborg this summer: the 6 weeks-long H22 City Expo.

From 30 May to 3 July 2022, it will be the culmination and springboard in the city's long-term initiative to become an enabler of collaborative innovation and be the biggest arena in Europe for sustainable urban transformation in 2022.

BABLE will be at H22 City Expo for the Urban Future Conference on June 1st-2nd and at the H22 City Arena on June 15th. Want to meet up? Contact us!

Overview of the episode:

02:27 - Teaser: How would you describe Helsingborg in 3 words?

05:07 - How did the idea for H22 City Expo start?

10:19 - What is the central goal behind this initiative?

12:46 - What are the opportunities and benefits for city representatives coming to Helsingborg?

14:15 - The H22 program: a little bit for everyone

16:55 - Bringing out the super-hero in everyone

18:31 - What are the benefits for companies?

20:10 - A 6 weeks-long expo: will it be worth it?

22:20 - What is it that makes us belong in a city?

23:40 - Roll with the Punches: our guest answers "this or that" questions

25:13 - Ending Question: To you, what is a Smart City?


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

And for more insights, join our Smart City Community!

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Åsa Bjering 00:00:00 We need to make a city fun. We need to make the city beautiful. Yeah. Uh, and livable. Us, uh, pushing, uh, for the sustainability. And I think that is what's what's happening. Not only in Helsingborg but in many different places right now, and that's quite interesting. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:00:24 Welcome to Smart in the City - The BABLE Podcast, I am your host Tamlyn Shimizu. And really at BABLE, we aim to connect the players in the smart city industry with high quality information and ideas through our platform and services. This podcast is really an extension of this goal and mission to drive the change for a better urban life. And first, a quick announcement from BABLE as a company dedicated to drive the change for a better future. We at BABLE express our support for all victims of the Ukrainian Russian war to all our listeners. If you're wondering how to best support Ukraine from a foreign country, please visit the following website, support Ukraine now.org. So today I physically took a snowy train ride from Gothenburg, Sweden and arrived in Helsingborg, Sweden to have the opportunity to see the city and speak to our wonderful guest here with us today. Åsa Bjering, who works in international relations for the city of housing book. Welcome. Åsa Bjering 00:01:32 Thank you. And welcome to Helsingborg. Thank Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:35 You. I'm really excited to be here and also thanks in advance for a wonderful tour. You've planned for us. I'm really excited to see this city. I've, uh, read a lot about it and, you know, seen photos, but it just doesn't really compare. Um, obviously Åsa Bjering 00:01:49 So well, and today we have snow outside. Usually I say Helsingborg is a summer city <laugh>, but you can see it also this time of year and enjoy. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:57 Yeah. And, and I actually get to see it in the summer too. Um, coming up next summer for the H 22 city expo, which is really why we're sitting down and talking today. Um, and really what, how we've gotten to know each other as well as through this event. But, uh, we'll talk more about that a bit later. I'm sure. So before we get into it, let's do a little maybe icebreaker. So to say mm-hmm <affirmative> so if you could choose three words to describe Helsingborg, what three words would you use? Åsa Bjering 00:02:31 Bold, ambitious and fun. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:35 Yeah, that's good. That sounds like a, a fun person to hang out with also as well as a, a, a city. What makes it bold? Åsa Bjering 00:02:45 I think that push ourselves, uh, into doing things that we normally don't do in cities, or actually that civil servants are not that at least not in Helsingborg, previous has been used to doing so that I will say is the bold part. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:03:04 Yeah. And what about the ambitious part? Åsa Bjering 00:03:07 Well, ambitious is this kind of thing. Um, being proud of being front here running, uh, but almost aiming a bit higher mm-hmm <affirmative> on climate issues. For example, we have a goal on 2035 to be climate neutral, but we are pushing ourselves to do it faster to do it already to 2030 and this kind of continuous push of doing things a little bit more, a little bit better. I think that is really kind of narrowing down, uh, what is happening right now in Helsingborg. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:03:41 Yeah, that's, that's really interesting. And also, um, I think one reason why Helsingborg has been all over my newsfeed, at least maybe just cuz of you all being, uh, the, the workers really, and in the, in the city also being so proactive about promoting these, uh, promoting these different issues and challenges and also successes to other cities as well. And I think that's a main goal of the city expo as well. Right. Åsa Bjering 00:04:06 Well, we also like to speak both about the successes. Yeah. But also about the failures. Yeah. We like to speak about the things we're good at, but also where we can take back on others. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so in that sense, I think that, um, when, when you see and hear about he boy, uh, it is very much this demand of pushing more. Yeah. Pushing harder and learning from each other. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:04:27 Yeah. Yeah. That's super important. I was just, you know, up at a conference where we talked a lot about that and I think we, um, it it's so important to push. Okay. But what were the lessons learned out of everything? And um, why we're here today? As I, as I said was really the H 22 city expo, and this is something that I've been seeing a lot of and also been, um, telling people about like, Hey, have you heard about this? So how did this idea even start you're you're doing a six week long expo in this summer. Um, here in housing book center with lots of different locations, lots of different activities for many different types of people, right. And organizations, how does this even become an idea or start? Åsa Bjering 00:05:15 Well, it's part of the, a he boy identity, I would say to do large expos. We did one in a 1955 called eight wow. 55. <laugh> when we talk about it, we talk about the modern Sweden being born. And this is where a city at that side. Now we are 150,000. At that time we were much smaller mm-hmm <affirmative> but we gathered more than 1 million people. Oh wow. 55. This was the first time you could see a firework. This is where we put scan native design on the map for the world. Also an international expo again in 99, we did it age 99. At that time it was a living fair, uh, and kind of boosting the living fares of Sweden moving around later on, almost still going on 20 years later, doing a lot, lot of, you know, this is the, uh, housing expo right now. Åsa Bjering 00:06:10 Mm-hmm <affirmative> now we wanted to do something again, similar to that. And continuously we've had this story of actually then leaning ourselves a little bit more forward saying that if we are going to tackle the challenges that we're facing today and tomorrow, and if we are going to move the society and transform the society in the way we think is necessary due to climate change to, to we plant our boundaries, but also due to what the residents of our city expects from us as a city, we have for more than, you know, a decade pushed ourself in what can we do differently? How can that be done in another way, et cetera. But we felt that it wasn't moving fast enough. We didn't have the tools enough. So we kind of sat down and said, okay, let's give this a high priority, put it on the top of the agenda, ensuring that innovation is part of the core mandate in the city. Åsa Bjering 00:07:14 It's a necessity to innovate. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it's a necessary to engage with the residents, with the companies and push, uh, and enable innovation. Now being in the history of a health body, we of course wanted to make a big expo out of it. But we also had the very thorough understanding that we don't want be a, you know, 35 day innovation show. Only we wanted to actually bring change to housing boy to, to give new tools, new skills to our staff and give a profound understanding from our residents in what did take also from them in order being part of a transformative change. And that's why we said, well, it will not only be for 35 days, even if you are talking about age 22 or 35 days for us, it's three years. And it's only a stepping stone towards the future and our vision 20 30, 5 of Helsingborg. Åsa Bjering 00:08:14 And that vision was adopted in 2011. Since then, we've been working with management skills, trainings, and those kind of things in order to kind of push more trust into the organization in order to think about how do we use the opportunities that digitization provides for us, et cetera, what they did in 2019. And it was the broad majority. Uh, and so it, it, the broad majority of the political parties, uh, in, in, in the city council decided to put aside 250 million Swedish crowns, which is approximately 25 million euros into the age 22 initiative. Now half of that, and that is what we call a welfare and innovation initiative. Half of that is dedicated core to our core organization to kind of have funds and muscle to try and push and dare and do. And, uh, uh, innovation, the other half of the funds are put into the age 22 CT expo in order in realizing 35 days where we will actually hope that we invite the whole world to housing boy, where we, we don't give an exact number of how large it's gonna, and B it's gonna be six weeks, 35 days during the next summer. Åsa Bjering 00:09:40 And we do expect that it will be more visitors coming to age 22 at, than it was age 55 <laugh>. And that was 1 million. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:50 Wow. That's, uh, that's quite the plan. And, uh, that actually gave me, me a lot of backstory that I didn't know previously about really the rich history of housing book pushing even as far back as, uh, 1955. Right. Um, so yeah, that's wonderful. So would you, what would you say is really the, the central goal behind it? Is it the innovation piece? Is it engaging with the world? Is it showing others how innovations are happening in housing book? What, what would you say is a central goal? Åsa Bjering 00:10:23 We have put a central theme of open up mm-hmm <affirmative> and we say open up for the world. And that means that we, we don't think that we can do this by ourself, but we also open up for circularity new ways of looking upon how we run a city. It could be water ma water waste management. So it's systematic as well as personal, uh, in that sense. So open up for circularity will be one thematics, and that is, um, uh, but it's also, co-creation very, and when we talk about co-creation, we talk about broad spectrum. So it's together with our residents, it's together with businesses and companies. We have more than 70 companies that have joined us age 22 partners that are actually for a three year period or two year period. If they joined late, developing, investigating an in innovating together with either communities, the city of south such, or with other businesses and partners, but to the benefit of the people living in health and boy, uh, then we also have open up for life quality. Åsa Bjering 00:11:33 And to some extent we have put all our innovation work into the mindset of life quality. That is what we want to create a higher life quality for the people living in our city, within planet boundaries, doing that. We talk about the air, we breathe. We talk about the safety, we feel on the street, but we also talk about how we as single residents in the city can be part of making a change, interacting with others, uh, and changing our behaviors. And I think that the 35 days to a large extent also will be this kind of manifestation that none of the things that is demanded from us, maybe from the city as such from different businesses of companies, uh, or the residents in the city can be done if we do it alone. So it's a little bit about opening up your sense of understanding that we are in interdependent mm-hmm Tamlyn Shimizu 00:12:30 <affirmative> yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Um, and can you tell me, I guess a lot of our audience of course, are city representatives and other cities, um, what's what can you sell them on coming to age 22 city expo, or really what are the opportunities and benefits for, for the city representatives coming? Well, Åsa Bjering 00:12:51 We have been working for three years trying and new things. Now, smart city solutions may be social, uh, innovation, uh, impact, or may be high technology impact. Yeah. It's very hard to touch feel and see, uh, all the time. So we talk about it, but we, we don't really get it into our skin. Now we are, are pushing to make this go into your skin to make it an experience that you will actually be there, experience what the future can bring. You will learn from the successes we've had from the failures we've made. We have pushing ourselves to see that when we talk about how a build a climate neutral, uh, um, neighborhood, what are the backbone of the show and how can we make that visible is the data that we collect in a different way that we can visualize in another way, just during these 35 sub exhibitions. Åsa Bjering 00:13:54 So we get an under standing of all the technology behind or of all the processes behind mm-hmm <affirmative>. Now that's not very easy. Uh, but I think that walking around in Heur at moment, you have 160 program items on the H 22 cpo.com website. There you can sit and you can kind of, you know, dry the simulation in the Harbor. Uh, you can try out, um, the, um, the vacuum toilets that we are using, you can also be part of in participatory processes, where we have architects from outside of consultant architects, working together with the city saying, okay, how can we push for further integration? And you will be part of the discussion whilst being here. So it will be very experience based. However, traveling from abroad, you will also be able to attend one of the very many different international companies that we hold, uh, or, uh, going to the exhibitions that we put up during the first week, we have urban brilliance, which is where we have other 10 other cities that we have invited that will showcase what they are doing for the residents of he boys, for us to take back on them, uh, so that we can follow the lead of other cities. Åsa Bjering 00:15:19 But it's also showing that this is a joint journey that we're on. So there are different parts, depending on what you're interested on. We have one of the large is artificial intelligence conferences. We have business arena, which is a forum for, uh, for, for the, uh, building community. Uh, we have the Nordic place branding, uh, conference, urban future conference with more than 3000 guests coming in from all over Europe pending on when international colleagues of us around in Europe or elsewhere and decide to travel here. We have this Swedish SMI board of the innovations that we have tried out that they can experience back to back that gives this extra flare, and it gives an extra push. I believe of ensuring that well was anyway, come to conference. I stay for another two or three days, and I do it both for my pure pleasure of being part of this kind of movement almost, but also understanding or, or, or getting some new eye insights back home. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:16:32 Yeah. A little bit for everyone, any kind of interest, you kind of cover it all in the program. Åsa Bjering 00:16:38 <laugh>, that's one of the headaches, huh? Yeah. But it's also one of the lorries of the opportunity city. I was just meeting with my colleague this morning and she's sitting with the four superheros. We have four superheros, they have no names yet, but they, um, they represented the elements of the earth. So you have fire, you have, uh, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:16:57 Water, water, Åsa Bjering 00:16:59 Your fire, you have water, you have, uh, uh, soil <laugh>, uh, and you have air air. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:17:06 Yeah. Åsa Bjering 00:17:06 <laugh> and these have been transformed into small super stars that will help guide the children's the children that are coming to the age 22 city expo. Again, may they live in house boy, come elsewhere with their parents or grandparents when they go visiting house boy, because to some extent we're pushing so that you will feel the playfulness, um, no matter what age you are, but you will see that we're very often to talking about bringing out a superhero in everyone and during the age 22 city expo, um, and in, in preparation for the age 22 city expo, uh, these are the kind of things that we're working in order also to make it more tangible touchable and relatable. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:17:52 Yeah. It makes a lot of sense to engage people on, uh, so many different levels and to really dig into what hits people the hardest. Right? So everyone's so unique in their interest, but also further than that, um, what really, uh, kind of touches them in a way what really motivates them. Um, and so, yeah, I, I, I'm really excited for the eczema myself and, um, I think you sold a lot of people on it just now. So what about for the company side of things? What do companies benefit from for coming the same kind of thing, or, I Åsa Bjering 00:18:26 Mean, first of all, you have the companies that are already doing the innovations own place and on ground mm-hmm <affirmative> and they will be here and they will showcase together with the city, what they have done, and they will do that in their pavilions or in, in specific places around the whole city mm-hmm <affirmative>. Uh, so that is a way of kind of interacting with the innovations of, of the future. And today <affirmative>, uh, so that is a learning, uh, space, but it's also a networking space. Yeah. But I would say that in order to make it a networking space may be a city city representative or a business representative, I would say, look into the program and see if there's any one of these conferences and if event, uh, that is more, uh, appealing to you, ensure that you come those days and stay for a couple of more, because if you then decided, okay, we'll stay for a couple of more, or I'll actually bring my, my older brother is having an, um, uh, a programming company, uh, software company with 50 and employees, they have their summer summer finish here. And while they do that, they attend one conference, uh, where they sit and speak AI security, high level on, on, on what they are working on. And then they walk around to actually kind of push themselves in what are the frontiers and new ideas we can get from others. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:19:55 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And, um, so I kind of wanna play devil's advocate a little bit here and say obviously, six week long expo, it's an incredible amount of time, um, effort, money that goes into this. Right. Um, so do you think it's going to be worth it? Do you think that, um, like what are really the biggest challenges in really, I guess, getting the most bang for your buck or so to Åsa Bjering 00:20:22 Say again, I have to say that it's longer than six weeks. It's three years and it's heading for the future. So it's only a trampoline towards the future. Yeah. So it's really about the Quora making a change in the city. We're talking about the change in the DNA of the city mm-hmm <affirmative> in order how we adopt to the future. Yeah. Doing that. It has been quite valuable. I would say, um, to have a deadline, a joint deadline in the city where you push yourself towards, sometimes it feels like horrible, uh, because it's such a short time period. I, I was just sitting with one, one of the projects, uh, yesterday, now they are going to showcase because that's where we ended up because they're building an mm-hmm, <affirmative> really exciting and how you can interact with this is a Waterside, uh, city. How can we bring the water into the building environment? Åsa Bjering 00:21:18 Mm-hmm <affirmative> so we have some top store architects working on this and enabling that kind of, uh, uh, on land aquarium. You could say, now they are not getting all the permits ready for the 8 22 city expo. So the real aquarium will not be there to see. Uh, but since we are feeling that it's so important that we can show what we are developing and what we are doing, the, they will have a prototype and this prototype then will gather a whole other discussion around it during age 22 city expo, making it not only a showcase, but actually a collaborative, uh, practice in that sense. Yeah. And we see this elsewhere as well. We have people's walk. It's another one of my favorite examples. Well, we're actually working with, uh, an in-depth, um, process of, uh, saying, what is it that makes me belong to a city? Åsa Bjering 00:22:17 When do I feel safe in a city? What is it that connects us living a citizens in a city, there will be ongoing, uh, workshops during the 35 days on this, uh, where you go and participate for a three hour, uh, session in the end of it, you will Lester. I think it's called Lester in English, on cement and cement blocks. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, uh, a message for the future. Now this will be exhibited during the exhibition, but what happens when we continue building the, where the plans are right now, this will be part of the payment and walk. So you will walk on the dreams and hopes and ideas of the people attending the H 22 CT expo. May they live here or elsewhere because the future is house jointly, those kind of stories they will stick. Yeah. It will not only be for the 35 days, you will become, be able to come to he boy and see the heritage of the age 22, 60 expo, 10 years from now. I hope. And I think Tamlyn Shimizu 00:23:19 <laugh>, I hope so too. And, um, I, I also believe in the project. Um, I just, uh, you know, of course I had to play a little bit of devil's advocate there. And with that, I will give you a little rest, um, in that we can move to a little bit of a fun segment. It's called, uh, roll with the punches. It's one of my favorites actually. And I will ask you three questions or this or that questions. And you just have to say the first one that comes to your mind that you think is your opinion. Okay. And don't worry, there's no wrong answer. <laugh>, it's my personal opinion. Yeah. It's your, it's what you like. Um, so summer or winter in housing bug, Åsa Bjering 00:23:58 Summer Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:00 <laugh> cinnamon bun or saffron buns, Åsa Bjering 00:24:03 Cinnamon buns, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:05 Uh, public private partnerships or public public collaboration. <laugh> Åsa Bjering 00:24:10 Public private and public partnerships. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:12 Oh, <laugh> you twisted that one. Åsa Bjering 00:24:14 They will never be scalable unless we collaborate between cities as well. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:18 Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. Um, so why summer in house? Inbo Åsa Bjering 00:24:24 Because of the be beaches and the incredible sky. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:28 Good answer. <laugh> and, um, why cinnamon buns <laugh> well, <laugh>, Åsa Bjering 00:24:36 You kind of have to smell that in order to answer on that one. Okay. But the smell is just, um, we call it, um, we call it me is peace, which means that is really cozy Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:49 <laugh> oh, yeah. Yeah. It just makes you feel, um, quite at home. Doesn't it there? Åsa Bjering 00:24:54 I actually grew up it's that feeling? It's the home feeling. Yeah. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:58 Great. Thank you for, uh, playing along. Um, and uh, we also always ask, um, everyone one question and, um, it's a complicated question, but, and I don't think I ever answered also the same way, um, cuz it can mean so many different things and really, um, well I'll just tell you now. Um, so to you, what is a smart city? Åsa Bjering 00:25:23 A smart city is a city that is open for change and open, uh, for realizing that one model doesn't fit all. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:25:38 Hmm. That was beautifully put and very concise. I don't think I've ever gotten such a concise answer. So, um, well done. I applaud you on that and with that, unless you, unless you have, um, something that you feel like you really want to leave the listeners with today, what would, what would that be? Åsa Bjering 00:26:00 Well, first of all, a big welcome to he Bo next, uh, summer for 35 days, this is not health boys arena. This is our arena. And to some extent what we try to do and what we try to push ourselves is that, well, unless you come, we have nobody to learn from. So we are very, very humble with saying that, okay, we're doing our very best here, but probably we are not moving fast enough. And probably there are a lot of new things for us to learn and pick from others. So more than welcome and common challenge us, please. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:26:34 Thank you. Um, and yeah, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. It's been a real pleasure and I'm also really looking forward to our little tour. Um, and yeah, I'll see you, uh, I'm, I'm looking forward to seeing you in the summer as well. Um, especially since it's your favorite time of year <laugh>, um, and to all of our listeners, if you want to learn more about projects and real life implementations in smart cities in Europe and beyond, you can find more information on Bob smart cities.eu and be part of our community by signing up for free. Thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban life.

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