WRITTEN BY TORBEN KLITGAARD
– SPEAKER AT PRIX BLOXHUB INTERACTIVE SYMPOSIUM 21-22 MAY 2019 – LINK

Men come together in cities in order to live: they remain together in order to live the good life.

It’s been almost 2,500 years since the Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle spoke these words.

Yet they seem more relevant than ever.

With global challenges such as urbanization and climate change, we have to make sure, that our urban areas are attractive and healthy to live in – also in the future. But how do we create livable cities – and at the same time fit 2,5 billion more people into our urban areas by 2050?

I believe, that the complex challenges of urbanization and climate change require new and stronger ways of collaboration. Across the fields of architecture, engineering, construction, city planning, governance and – not the least – tech.

It’s about time we start to tear down these silos, rethink existing models in urban development and co-create our urban future.

With Prix BLOXHUB Interactive, we wish to bridge the gap between technology and the outcome that it transforms for our future urban development. We wish to draw attention to the fact that we have to work closer together and in new ways to create more livable cities – and that tech will work with us on this journey.

Cities should use technology to improve quality of life

Quality of life in cities has many dimensions, from the air we breathe to how safe we feel walking the streets.

One of the latest reports from the McKinsey Global Institute, Smart cities: Digital solutions for a more liveable future, analyses how dozens of digital applications address these kinds of practical and very human concerns. It finds that cities can use smart technologies to improve some key quality-of-life indicators by 10 to 30 percent—numbers that translate into lives saved, fewer crime incidents, shorter commutes, a reduced health burden, and carbon emissions averted.

Today we are seeing only a preview of what technology could eventually do in the urban environment.

But I believe that our city leaders are ready – and they know that smart cities start with people, not technology. That it is about using technology and data as a means to deliver better quality of life. Not to deliver technology alone.