#77 SMCNetZero Project: Križevci - Energy Independence and Citizen Engagement

Episode 83 May 22, 2024 00:44:45
#77 SMCNetZero Project: Križevci -  Energy Independence and Citizen Engagement
Smart in the City – The BABLE Podcast
#77 SMCNetZero Project: Križevci - Energy Independence and Citizen Engagement

May 22 2024 | 00:44:45


Hosted By

Tamlyn Shimizu

Show Notes

In this fifth episode of our SMCNetZero series, we talked with Mario Rajn, Mayor of the City of Krizevci, Croatia.

With him, we explored Križevci's journey towards energy independence and sustainability, focusing on the city's green agenda, citizen engagement in renewable energy projects, and innovative initiatives to enhance the quality of urban life.

Visit the SMCNetZero Website to learn more about the project.
Overview of the episode:

[00:01:51] Teaser Question: "If Crosstown were an animal, which creature would it be and why?"

[00:03:55] Our guest's background

[00:07:03] Current challenges and priorities of Križevci

[00:13:05] Key challenges in Križevci's journey towards energy independence

[00:17:07] Involving citizens in energy transition through crowdfunding and cooperatives

[00:21:08] Scalability and sustainability of community-funded energy projects

[00:22:45] Roles of KLIK and Energy-Climate Office in Križevci's energy policies

[00:26:24] Other citizen-focused initiatives in Križevci

[00:33:32] Advice for decision-makers in smaller cities

[00:36:20] Top or Flop: our guest responds quickly with their positive or negative review on a variety of topics.

[00:41:03] Ending Question: "To you, what is a Smart City?"


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View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Tamlyn Shimizu: 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. [00:00:21] Tamlyn Shimizu: 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. [00:00:31] Tamlyn Shimizu: 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. [00:00:45] Tamlyn Shimizu: So today we're traveling to Croatia. I actually realized I don't think we've done an episode yet with a croatian city or stakeholder, so I'm really excited to dive into everything to do with this small city's background and what they're doing in the field of sustainable sustainability and more. This episode is also part of our SMCNetZero series, which is part of our EU funded project SMCNetZero, and that aims to achieve net zero through innovation in small and medium sized cities. So without further ado, I'm really excited to introduce you to our guest here today. His name is Mario Rhein. He's the mayor of Krizevci, otherwise known as Crosstown in English because my croatian is not so good. But he is the mayor of Crosstown and really excited to have him here today. Welcome, Mario. [00:01:40] Mario Rajn: Yeah, thank you. Very glad and honored to be with you today. [00:01:44] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, absolutely. And please tell us in your proper croatian accent how to say your town's name. [00:01:51] Mario Rajn: Okay, the croatian name is Krizevci, but due to some historical reasons and significance within the croatian history, Krizevci has three official translation, one in English being Crosstown. In German we are called Kreutz and in Hungarian we are Korosh. So a lot of history within the small city of Krizevci. [00:02:19] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, absolutely. I'm really excited to learn more. So, to start us off with painting a picture of your town, I was wondering if you could answer a question. It's a teaser question that we like to use to get warmed up. The question that we have for you today is, if Crosstown were an animal, which creature would it be and why? [00:02:43] Mario Rajn: Yeah, that question gets me a lot of thinking of our historical reasons, but also what we are trying to do in the future. And I would most definitely say we are an eagle because from historical point of view, we have more than 770 years of being freely and freely as a city. But also we have strong christian background and eagle has in Christianity, some significance. But one thing that we like to think ahead is the fact, like eagles, they take care of their children. And this is something that we take most, first and foremost as our main goal, looking towards the future. And I think that today during this session, you will hear a lot of me referencing, referencing to the children and child well being and all the initiatives we are trying to do. Be rest assured that we are doing for the future sake of our children. Yeah. So one thing to say, it would be an eagle. [00:03:55] Tamlyn Shimizu: Very good. I'm not sure if I've had that response before in the podcast. So yeah, really good and really good reasons why. So I like to give the listeners a little bit more info about you as a person. Can you tell us a little bit more about your background? Where are you from? What did you do before you were mayor? What led you here today? [00:04:18] Mario Rajn: Okay, so I'm, to this day, 38 years of age. I'm born, I was born in Krizevci. So practically all my life I am living here, except the years I was at the University of Zagreb. My university degree is in field of mathematics, so I have a bachelor's degree there and also master's degree in informatics, but educational informatics. I have two small daughters. So this is obviously something that is also the theme of children and well being of children, something that is very close to me as a father. But during my years being in the university, I was also a part of music sessions, I was in a rock band, but also I was a part of a couple of local NGO's. And that is something that most definitely had a great influence and impact on me. And practically I was 15 years inside the NGO's, working a lot in the fields of education, also bringing technology to the people, but also communicating regarding things that tend to think well being of people and nature. And some time during these 15 years being an NGO, we found not just me, but all the people in group that I was part of, that we had to take to the next level in terms of being active in local politics. And this is a place where you can make some significant change. So back in 2017, we went on local elections as a group of independent citizens, or a group of citizens, how it is called in Croatia. And our co citizens, our neighbors, found it very interesting and appealing what we suggested, or we offered to our neighbors and we got elected, and also in 2021, we got reelected, completely on the green agenda. So nowadays, seven years into the mandate, we are fully assured that all that we are doing, all that we told our citizens that we are going to change really makes sense and has a strong impact on our citizens. And we are very, very lucky or unhappy about that. [00:07:03] Tamlyn Shimizu: Really interesting background, and I love the story of you running for election as well. So I want to learn more about your city. What are the ongoing challenges, what are the priorities of your city right now? You mentioned the green agenda. Of course, we want to dive into that more as well. [00:07:24] Mario Rajn: Yeah, maybe just one point to take before I go towards our future agenda. Our current and future agenda. Back in 2017, Krizevci were still struggling with a lot of people unemployed and going through some kind of change. Because 30 years ago, in the early nineties, we were rather strong industrial center in terms that we had five big companies in different areas of business, like construction, working, but also in plastics and so on, meat industry, wood industry. And practically these five companies employed most of the people that were working within the city during the nineties. And actually during the nineties, we established our own country, Croatia. All of these companies went bankrupt because of this transition from socialism to new part of economy. And we struggled with that for the next practically 20 years. And in 2017, we said, okay, look, we are a city practically in the metropolitan area of our capital city of Zagreb. So Krizevci are 55 km northeast from Zagreb. A lot of our citizens, our friends are working in Zagreb. And we know for the fact that obviously capital city offers a lot of good jobs, well paid jobs, and obviously possibilities. But we want to make creativity appealing for the life of dead citizens, people who are, once again, I'm telling our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors, and we want to make registry as livable as possible, so to say, maximum safety, quality of life, and obviously new kind of jobs for the ones who want to work within the Krizevci, but the ones who want to work and commute to Zagreb. Okay, no problem. But we will do our best so they can commute daily. So investments in good railways, in maybe car sharing and so on and so on. But most definitely, quality of life within the city of regency is something that we wanted to emphasize. And because of that, the green agenda was something that came completely natural. We had a role model in the city of Gissing in Austria, who started very similarly in 1992. Their agenda that they want to become energy independent by 2010. And due to the fact that the technology was quite expanded in the meantime, we said, okay, in 2017, we want to become energy independent by the year 2030, in a sense that we want to utilize all our locally available resources for the renewables. But we knew for the fact that that could also bring new jobs, new green economy, and seven years today, we see that that actually happened. Okay, I'm not saying that there are thousands of new jobs within the Krizevci, but most definitely we have, like, more than dozen of newly established companies, companies small and medium enterprises that deal with photovoltaics, geothermal sharing of knowledge, but also installation, and so on and so on. So that agenda that we started in 2017 really made sense in the short term, even in the first two or three years, made fully sense in the midterm five years from 2017, as we had the biggest impact on our households in the last two or three years. And I'm fully assured that by the year 2030, we will be energy independent, or as we like to. We like to say we will. From our local resources, we will get all the electricity that Krizevci household and businesses need. And that is roughly 24 power. Just my mathematician background is now coming to a sense. I like to talk in a figure of numbers. So we actually approximate that we will need 24 installed power by the 2030. And that is something that we disseminate in a way that we want to have 1000 households with photovoltaics on their rooftop, or to say, at least 1000 households. To this date, we have 168 photovoltaics on rooftops of our citizens. But also we will invest in locally owned photovoltaics, our businesses invest in renewables, we have geothermal potential, and so on and so on. So we like to have our goals very measurable, and we are doing it quite well, so to say. [00:13:05] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah. So it sounds like you're doing a ton in the energy regard and also. Yeah. Proving the viability economically to do that and to prioritize that. What challenges are you really facing, though, as you're moving forward? Is there any community kickback? Is there just more technical challenges that you're facing? What are the challenges there? [00:13:30] Mario Rajn: From 2017, we were fully assured and fully aware that the biggest challenge would be to company to get citizens involved in this whole energy transition. And we started very from the first practical actions that we want to include citizens as much as possible. And within the three pillars that we are trying to work on upon one is citizens first. Actually, the second one is being committed to meet and long term strategy goals. And the third one is leaving no man behind in terms of energy poverty and socioeconomic poverty. So in all of our actions, we are always thinking of the one of our neighbors and households that maybe aren't so lucky that they could invest but still we think of them. But regarding that citizens first, we started in 2018 with crowdfunding campaigns so that citizens could invest in photovoltaics on rooftop of our public buildings. Obviously we could finance that through our local budget. But we wanted to make a point that citizens are necessary to be a part of energy transition. They invested, we gave them, or rest assured them, that they will get 4.5% annually return on their investments. And that was something that was catchy from the beginning. But after that, they really came closer to this whole topic of photovoltaics, of renewable technologies, and through these first two campaigns, because first one in 2018 was a huge success, and we started with the second one in 2019. So the first one was in our entrepreneurial park main building, and the second one was on the rooftop of our city library. Through that, we got practically more than 90 of our citizens involved directly in energy transition. And one thing that made me very convinced that we are on the good path. Out of these 90 investors, 18 of them combined into first local energy cooperative in Croatia, which was established in 2020. And we got them as strong partners in this whole process of energy transition. And once they started to meet and to communicate with other citizens, practically one and a half year after their establishment, they came within an idea that they want to establish a local energy office, or so to say, one stop shop, an office through which they could communicate even more with citizens. And even more came closer to our neighbors that want to invest in photovoltaics and be a part of green energy transitions. Maybe to keep things short, I wanted to emphasize the role of citizens and the necessity to include citizens as much as possible in practically daily activities regarding energy transition. [00:17:07] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, absolutely. I think these approaches are very innovative and really encapsulate how we can bring citizens into the play and get them involved. Actually, we drive a lot more engagement just by engaging them from the very beginning as well. Right. And funding these projects together with them. But I'm wondering, I don't know if you've heard concerns maybe around scalability, or if you can sustain this long term, what are your plans in the long term for involving the citizens and doing these kind of community funded energy projects? [00:17:51] Mario Rajn: We are fully committed that every locally available public resource should be offered to citizens to be part of their engagement, but also investment. So, for example, we had just this year third campaign, as we had one rooftop on the city market that was available. We couldn't finance that through EU funding or any EU project regarding photovoltaics. And we once again reached out to the citizens suggested, okay, do you want to once again engage? And they said, yes, most definitely. 108 of new investors came in that project and investment of 200 kw, which is roughly €180,000 of investment in that campaign. But we are expecting by the end of this year to have one big, big project of 7 mw installed power. And now we are in that crucial point in this decade. Obviously, these 7 mw is something that our private businesses and private investors are very eager about. They want to practically I had, I don't know, during last six months, a couple of interviews where investors came to my office and suggested, okay, look, we have money, just sell us the, the project documentation and the whole place. We will invest. City will have something out of it on a yearly basis. But we are very, very committed that we should offer that as a public resources, because the land is in ownership of city of Krizevci. The project documentation was financed through local budget. And now we want to make available for our citizens and the community itself, maybe on the national or even european scale level, the citizens couldn't invest in that project or in the future in these kind of projects. And that commitment that every locally available resource should be offered to citizens is something that citizens are now very convinced that we are really thinking of that and want to engage in that sense. Obviously, the positive aspects for citizens are numerous. So they could get through these projects like in average 5% annually return on their investments. But if they maybe don't need return on investments, they can share their produced energies. So because the energy communities as a method or model are now within the European Union, is something that we are expecting to grow in the future. Some countries within the European Union made it quite simpler and have a lot of energy communities. Some are a bit small, a bit slower, but still I think that this is a big opportunity through energy communities to engage even more citizens in the future. And this is something that christians here are very, very committed to in the future. [00:21:08] Tamlyn Shimizu: So you are scaling this up in other ways and getting more investment into this. So you're really proving that it is scalable in your towns. [00:21:19] Mario Rajn: Yeah, and I'm actually trying to convince, or I'm talking with my colleagues in different cities, especially the ones that are surrounding Rizzhevc. Please do think of engaging with citizens as citizens have, or some of them have some savings that they aren't sure what to invest in. Obviously, the bank earnings aren't so much or bank interest rates aren't so compelling to them as they used to be. And projects in green energy or renewables are something that is very interesting and hopefully it will gain a lot more interest in the future. So far, some of the cities are trying to implement something like us, but there is still a huge opportunity to scale up this model on immigration level size, but most definitely on the european level. [00:22:24] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, absolutely. You also have an energy climate office and click klick. Can you explain a little bit more about that? What roles they play in your energy policies? How has this impacted your climate action plans? [00:22:45] Mario Rajn: Yeah, that is actually the cooperative I was referring to, Clic. So ClIC and office are practically combined directly. So first local energy cooperative established in Croatia was CLIC, which means actually Croatia laboratory for innovation in climate in Croatia. And once again they established in 2020. And after one and a half year of working remotely or from home or collaborating on projects, in that sense, they came with an idea in my office that they would like to have one fixed point office through which they could communicate with citizens on a day to day basis. And at that point, and that is something I'm often referring to. So maybe some of your audience already heard me talking about that. I said, great, you have my full support, but I want to give you the best give you. I will lend it to you, but on very good deals from crazy ownership, the best office space available, which is practically on the main city square, just beside the main cross, the main walking route towards the main city square. And I said, okay, I want this office to be too close to the citizens as possible. So not an office which will be inside the city administration building somewhere on, I don't know, third level, fifth door on the left, which will be hard to find. This is something that needs to be as close to, as possible to citizens. Because when you think of daily activities of citizens, it is quite often that citizens practically went 100 times beside this office and they didn't even take a look what it is. But on this one occasion, on 101st time, they maybe stopped for a while and looked, oh, there is something going on inside. When they come inside, they will find good atmosphere, people who are working within clique who are very eager to explain our citizens or any other guests what we are trying to do to have some kind of renewable, not just renewable but also climate conversation topic, maybe to have a cup of tea or relax or place to coworker. And that is something that had a strong impact on the whole our city agenda as through CLIC and our energy climate office came also initiative for us to co finance the photovoltaics on the rooftop of citizens. So the whole model was actually their suggestion. And we said, okay, if citizens want that, this is something most definitely that we should work upon. And we started with co financing in 2020. And so far, like I mentioned in the intro, we have 168 co finance photovoltaics on our rooftops. Obviously, we aren't still close to the 1000 that we expect in 2030, but this momentum is gaining each year bigger and bigger. And I'm fully assured by the 2030 that we will came to. We will come to that number. [00:26:24] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, yeah. A lot of confidence. I know that 2030 number for many cities is coming very quickly. Right. But you seem very assured that you're going to be able to reach your targets in 2030. I'm wondering what other initiatives you're talking a lot about the citizens and the future for children. What other. I'm very curious, what other initiatives do you have that have a big focus on citizens? I think also I had read something about an app that you have for citizens as well. Any other initiatives you want to speak about? [00:26:57] Mario Rajn: Yeah, but maybe I can combine all of that, because we said, okay, we don't want to talk with citizens or ask citizens what they think once in every four years, meaning they practically answer you on the elections. So in 2019, we established open source platform on our official page through which our citizens can communicate directly with us, give us suggestions and so on. And practically from 2019, each year, just before the local budgeting for the next year, we have a very strong campaign through which we collect ideas for the citizens and what is important to say and to emphasize the best ones that are backbone by the other citizens. We most definitely implement in the next city budget. So if people give you strong confidence and suggestions, you cannot let them down. So obviously you have each year numerous ideas, but the ones that are the best ones, you should implement in the next budget. So, for example, the first citizens backed idea was to have urban garden. And that was actually during the COVID era. A lot of our citizens that live in multicondo houses didn't have ability to have their own little garden. And they said, okay, you have, within the city center, you have a designated area for the new houses to be built for young families. Please take a couple of those plots and reinvest them or rearrange them to be urban gardens. And that is exactly what we did during 2020. And from that initiative, we got a new ngo, a new cooperative called Magda's Gardens. Magda was also a historical figure in Krizyncy, but we gained a community of 30 plus citizens. Obviously, our citizens who are on a daily basis now they're present, they have their own gardening place, they produce their own food. And this is something that was very, very positive, had very positive impact on the whole local citizen scene. After that. The next year, for example, citizens backbone, the idea of establishing Krizyzi observatory, which was quite big project, once again, it was backbone by a lot of citizens. And we had, this is a project that obviously I'm very fond of due to the scientific reasons or something, but we had to invest €600,000 from the local budget and we got additional EU funding. But to be honest, we didn't think of that before the citizens suggested that for us. So maybe just to give you a brief idea, and I will talk about CTX application, CTX app. I wanted just to make you reassure that building a relationship with citizens is something that is very, very fruitful and positive for every mayor. But on the other hand, could be very fragile relationship, because if you just, if you let your citizens just once let them down, you practically lost them forever. So this is an idea you have to be fully committed to and obviously have rather good communication point. Okay, once again, I'm saying I get on each year on a yearly basis, I get dozens of suggestions. The ones that are the best, that the most backbone by citizens, that get most of the votes of the citizen, those ones are implemented, the ones that don't have so much confidence of citizens, are something that are on maybe some second list, maybe sometime in the future. And regarding CTX app, this is practically a national app, maybe even global sometimes during this year, from 2019 up to 2024, we saw that this movement on web application on our official site, we have each year a bit less of citizens involved. And they suggested maybe mobile app would be a better place for better place, so to say, to communicate on a daily basis. So we implement it with various functionalities. So through this designated app for creatures, you get news for kriegs, you can get meteor data, data on air quality, which is something that is very important for us. You can report or you can report about some problems in three jc. So just for us as a city administration to be aware of, obviously insights into the local budget is something that is also available through that city app. And obviously, all in all, this is a communication platform from which we are trying to build upon in the future to talk with citizens even. Furthermore. So this is something regarding other initiatives. They are mostly now into geothermal, as we want to invest in diesel heating. But these kind of projects will be in the next two or three years. Done. [00:32:59] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, absolutely. Really great examples of how you're engaging with citizens and putting them first. You've already given a lot of advice, I think also to us others that may be in similar situations as you. I was wondering if you have one other maybe key piece of advice that you'd like to give to maybe decision makers in cities of similar sizes to yours. By the way, what's the population size? [00:33:25] Mario Rajn: We have 20,000 inhabitants. [00:33:27] Tamlyn Shimizu: 20,000? Yeah, absolutely. [00:33:32] Mario Rajn: I would just say be fully committed to your citizens. The one privilege of being a mayor is that you are elected by your neighbors. Also. This is a huge responsibility because you meet your voters on a day to day basis. These are your neighbors, these are your friends, these are your coworkers, people you meet in the sports clubs and so on, so on. It could be rather challenging to talk with them on a daily basis because most of them are communicating problems with you or suggestions that could lead to resolving the problems that they maybe that maybe they emphasized prior to that. But once again, I really think of that, of my role as a privilege. And during these years that I'm in my mandate, I want to make an impact on the quality of, of life. And regarding the whole theme of smart city, because obviously this is something that this podcast also deals with, as I'm aware of. I'm always saying, okay, and this is this mathematic informatics background of me. Talking technology is here present and it is here to stay. You need to utilize it, obviously. But the smarter cities are the ones that which within them, our children can walk, can cycle freely, safely. And every technology, AI sensors, this is something that is only a bonus to that. But if you aren't committed to the youngest one of us, that they are safe, that they could freely walk within the city to enjoy the urban gardening plants and trees, you actually don't have a smart city. So this is something I'm always talking to my neighbors. Regarding. Mayors, please do not emphasize me the fact that you have sensors on your parking places for cars, because I'm not sure why you have parking places in the first, in the, in the beginning, in some of your places within the city, as I tend to have in the city center, bicycle lanes, obviously cars are present, but they shouldn't be the priority. Our children, citizens should be a priority, and everything else could be in some sense in service of citizens. And also mayors should be in service of citizens because that's what we are elected for. [00:36:20] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, it's a very good mentality, I think, that you have, and it's really inspiring that you view it as such a privilege to work for the citizens. Now that's all from the main interview part. And now we get to play a little bit of a game to start to close us off. It's actually you're a guinea pig. We have a new segment that we're trying out. It's called top or floppy? Top or flop. Respond quickly with your positive or negative review on a variety of topics. And it's where we give you a topic and you have to say whether it's top, it's good or it's bad, it's a flop. Okay, summer in Croatia. Top nice autonomous vehicles, flop city verse technology, the metaverse for cities. [00:37:25] Mario Rajn: I would still say top. [00:37:27] Tamlyn Shimizu: Okay, 15 minutes city concepts, definitely top. Banning cars, top fees for tourists to indo city centers. Have you heard what's going on in Venice? Now there's a fee. [00:37:46] Mario Rajn: Yeah, unfortunately we don't have these kind of problems, but I would say flop because just I understand what their mayor is dealing with. [00:37:59] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, absolutely. It went most of the ways that I expected. I guess you could maybe elaborate a little bit more. [00:38:08] Mario Rajn: Yeah, actually I just thought I didn't want to take your additional time. Yeah, but okay, regarding banning of cars, I'm first and foremost contrary any banning as actually we are trying to emphasize the idea within the citizens that they should think of other ways of transportation rather than car. So within our city center we do not say you are banned with cars, but a lot of our initiatives suggest. Okay, I don't know where to put my car, so maybe I should go on the other part of the city, or maybe I should come to the city center by foot, which is obviously the most, the best way. But also we have public bicycles, newly built bicycle lanes. This year we will establish electricity buses or electric buses and routes within the city. And there are numerous different ways in which you can communicate or travel within the city, not just to seat one individual in the car and go into city center and so on. In that sense, that answer regarding 15 minutes city, this is something that is obviously a huge imperative for most of the mayors, but for the creature sized cities, we are practically a 15 minutes. [00:39:43] Tamlyn Shimizu: You are a 15 minutes city, right? [00:39:45] Mario Rajn: Yeah, but still, I like to talk with my colleagues that are mayors of rather bigger cities like Zagreb, which is like 40 times bigger than Krizydzi. But obviously you have to start from the, from the ground. So okay, maybe you cannot implement everything at the same time in the whole city, but you have bigger budget. You have 17 city districts within the Zagreb in terms of that. So maybe you can start within one or two or maybe three. And these districts or city neighborhoods are the similar size like city of Krezzyc. So okay. Take the best of what we can offer. We would gladly share our insights and knowledge and from that you can in the next years top up. And this is something I really think that most of the european bigger cities can implement. [00:40:39] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Thanks so much for giving your insights. Also on this segment, I have one last question for you, and you alluded to it already before around smart cities and your thoughts on it. So I have an idea about what you're going to say, but I really want to dig in a little bit deeper. Just in a few sentences, could you tell us to you, what is a smart city? [00:41:03] Mario Rajn: Yeah, I practically tried to say that sentences because this is something, this is a quotation of one of the authorities author that I'm reading about. This gentleman is called Lyre Steinberg. So he suggests, and I'm fully up to that. I have that on my background on my PC. Smart city has nothing to do with ar or sensors. The city is smart when children can walk and cycle freely and safely, and technology is only a bonus. That was something I already mentioned. So obviously this isn't mine author idea, but this is something I'm very committed to. I really enjoy using technology, although as someone who also sometime in my past life, I work in elementary and high school. I think we need to use technology in very, in a way that our children are very safe within the technology. But obviously the progress we made during the second part of 20th century and from the beginning of 21st century gives us rather good example of what technology could do as long as we are responsible towards the using of technology. But first and foremost, we have to be responsible towards ourselves and our children. So still, keep in mind that citizens or people come first and everything that deals with technology is only a bonus that people should use to gain benefits from, not to be in any main net by any means in fear of that technology. So this is something that we are talking on a daily basis within our city administration. When I deal with people who are heads of my departments, I'm always referring, please do keep in every project or every project idea, first and foremost, think how it will make impact on our citizens, on our people. And after that we will deal with technology servers, sensors, I don't know what, artificial intelligence. [00:43:25] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, I agree. And that's a common theme. We ask that to every guest. And it's a common theme that we hear. You know that technology is a tool to use, but not the angle, right? So yeah, really, really great insights in all of this. I'm really excited about a lot of the initiatives you're doing around energy and involving citizens. So thank you so much for taking the time to come on, talk to us, talk to our listeners, let everyone know about what you're doing. So yeah, thank you so much. [00:43:54] Mario Rajn: Thank you as well. And once again, it was a great privilege and I'm very honored to be a part of your podcast. Thank you. From the city of Gracie point of view. Thank you. [00:44:04] Tamlyn Shimizu: Thank you very much. And thank you also to all of our listeners. Of course you keep the podcast running, so don't forget you can always create a free account on BABLE dash smartcities EU. You find out a lot more about cities, about projects, solutions, implementations and more. Thank you very much. [00:44:21] Tamlyn Shimizu: 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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#18 Prague: "Circular Economy is a Mindset"

In this episode, we dive into the topic of circular economy and especially how the city of Prague, Czech Republic is tackling waste recycling...


Episode 41

June 16, 2023 00:50:57
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#35 Leuven & Sant Feliu de Llobregat: "The Key Of What We Are Doing Is Collaboration"

In this first episode sponsored by Red Española de Ciudades Inteligentes (RECI), it was our great pleasure to meet with Manuel Gonzalez – Chief...


Episode 38

May 17, 2023 00:28:31
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#32 Madrid: Public Transport, "It's All About Sustainability"

This episode was recorded live at the Autonomy Mobility World Expo 2023 in Paris, where Smart in the City was a Media Partner.    In...