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People-First Cities: Governing in the Age of Tensions


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Presentation given by Maria Malho, Demos Helsinki, at Open & Agile Smart Cities' annual Connected Smart Cities & Communities Conference 2020 on 23 January in Brussels, Belgium

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People-First Cities: Governing in the Age of Tensions

  1. 1. 23rd January 2020 Demos Helsinki Maria Malho People-First Cities Governing in the Age of Tensions
  2. 2. Demos Helsinki is an independent Nordic think tank. We work to solve societal problems and challenges. We aim towards a fair and sustainable society in which everyone can shape the future in personally meaningful ways. Demos Helsinki always has two customers – the one who orders the project and the society which also benefits from each project.
  3. 3. Non-linear climate change Rapid digitalisation of life Two drivers are shaping our way of life fundamentally
  4. 4. They have created tensions Poverty is halved We are richer than ever Robot cars are hitting the street Solar power competes with coal in price AI beats humans in many non-routine tasks In most parts of the world, girls go to school as much as boys Two billion people carry a networked computer in their pocket Geopolitical turbulence is back Authoritarian political power is on rise Wealth concentration is at a historical high Less than half of rich countries’ populations work permanently Biggest companies in the world are on fossil or digital industries Western populations have pessimistic anticipations of their future Young generations have more psychological illness than previous ones Crucial ecosystems and climate are on steady trajectory towards collapse
  5. 5. The consequences look like this
  7. 7. “Cities will solve the 21st century global challenges” “Localization of the global agendas” UCLG “Digital cities for the benefit of European citizens” European Institute of Innovation & Technology “Toward a global urban agenda” UN-Habitat “Cities are climate leaders” Eurocities “Cities get the job done” C40
  8. 8. BUT HOW?
  9. 9. The missing link Digitalisation Climate change
  10. 10. The missing link MANDATE TOOLSDigitalisation Climate change
  11. 11. “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” Antonio Gramsci
  12. 12. Smart City Narratives SILICON VALLEY Smart city model developed and led by private companies BARCELONA? Strong narrative with thorough policy work and ecosystem CHINA Smart cities as tool for top-down governance
  13. 13. Barcelona Digital City Source: CITY STRATEGY AREAS CITY STRATEGIC GOAL AREAS
  14. 14. Governing the tension by putting people first Digitalisation Barcelona Digital City Creating the link
  15. 15. With the 4 biggest cities in Finland, we have started to build on top of this narrative. We understand putting people first as a way to strengthen the mandate of cities in the age of tensions. We are working on ways to better connect the existing tools to this renewed mandate.
  16. 16. How can we do this together?
  17. 17. Thank you! Maria Malho Interested in learning more?