218: Building Smarter Cities

https://youtu.be/OP5ME-rLN5Y

Matt talks to Fanni Melles about her PhD research into the future of smarter cities.  Her research focused on Melbourne-based city designing professionals and how they’re applying smart city concepts, but this can apply to any city around the world. What is a smart city? Well, not what you might think.

Fanni is also the host of the great podcast What is the Future for Cities that interviews professionals from all over the world. If you want to find out more about Fanni Melle’s work, visit her websites:

– Fanni Melles on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/fanni-melles-phd-a7113350/
– Fanni Melles on X: @fannimelles
– WTF on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/what-is-the-future-for-cities-podcast/?viewAsMember=true
– WTF on X: @WTF4Cities

YouTube version of the podcast: https://www.youtube.com/stilltbdpodcast

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Follow us on X: @stilltbdfm @byseanferrell @mattferrell or @undecidedmf

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In today’s episode of Still to be Determined, you’re in for a treat because you won’t have to listen to the sound of my voice much longer than this introduction will take. Welcome everybody to still to be determined. This of course is a followup podcast to undecided with Matt Ferrell in which Matt takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives.

And then on this program, we talk about what he looked at in that program. We also visit the mailbag unless we have special circumstances and that’s what we have this week. Before we get into that though, hello, I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m Matt’s older brother. I’m also a writer. I wrote some sci fi. I wrote some stuff for kids.

I’m just generally curious about technology and with me as always is my brother Matt. He is that Matt of Undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at the tech and then he talks about the tech and then we talk about him talking about the tech. How are you, Matt?

It’s talking all the way down, Sean.

That’s what we do.

It’s non stop talking. That’s right. How are you doing? It’s a, it’s a lovely spring day here in, in New York City. Is it nice up there?

Oh, it’s beautiful outside. I want to stop recording right now, Sean, and go outside.

Yeah. Just running circles around in your backyard, playing with your dog, who Uh, Matt has been sharing pictures of his dog with me and every single picture, it looks like she is sound asleep, like the life of a dog.

So as I mentioned at the top, typically we talk about Matt’s most recent episode, but this week we have a special treat. We have a long form interview video that Matt has. Uh, his main channel will share the more concise version, but here will be the long, full video of his conversation with Fanni Melles.

Fanni is a PhD researcher who is researching the future of smarter cities, and she’s doing this in Melbourne. So her research is focused right now on Melbourne based city designing professionals. Such as architects, urban planners, urban designers, engineers, and how they’re applying smart city concepts.

Of course, her research might be applicable to any city around the world. And Fanni is also the host of a podcast, which is the future. What is the future for cities? Which has the lovely and clever title of WTF4Cities. com. You might want to check that out. Yeah. And. She interviews professionals from all over the world.

So it’s a really interesting topic and it’s a really interesting approach. And she looks at what is a smart city and has discovered it might not be what you think. So, on now to the full conversation between Matt and Ms. Melles.

So, I’m being joined by Fanni, and I’d love you just to kind of introduce yourself, because one of the things I want to start with is just tell me a little bit about yourself, and why you do what you do.

Because I know you’ve, you’ve got a You’re an architect and you’ve done, you just got your PhD and your research project is why I’m talking to you because you did this whole research project on smart cities. And I’m really curious to kind of hear your backstory about how you ended up here. Like what, why, what drove you to this?

Thanks, Matt. Um, so I’m a future of cities researcher. I’m an architect by profession and the project manager by experience. And in my PhD, I researched smart cities because I thought that smart cities are the solution for everything. We will talk about that a bit later, I think. And I came to this PhD and this research because I was working as a project manager on Hungary’s biggest urban development called the Liget project.

And I was the Master Planner for a while, and I’ve worked with 10 different design teams, and I was also the project manager for the New National Gallery, which was designed by big names, really big names. And it was amazing to see these huge masterminds working on such amazing projects. However, they didn’t seem to have the mental space to think about the future of the built environment they are creating.

So, I thought that since I love my profession, and I deeply respect these, um, professionals, that I could help my profession, architecture and urban planning and engineering, because I think of these as one big, big group, which creates the future of the city. I wanted to help them, so I started my PhD. And in my PhD, again, I started from the smart city, and then I talked with people, and I read a lot of research.

And I realized that although I started with the idea of smart city and I started with the idea that designers, architects, urban planners, and engineers are the heroes of the cities because we are creating the biggest environment? It’s not that easy. And although we are the heroes, we are not the only

heroes in the city.

On that note, for smart cities, okay, so I know through your research, because you know I’ve already had back and forth on this, what was, how would you define a smart city? Before you did this research, before you went through this whole process, almost like for a person off the street, how would you think they would define it?

And how would you have defined it?

I think it’s true. It was a while ago. So I think before my PhD, I defined the smart city as using technology to solve urban problems. I think that’s a very basic understanding for smart cities currently as well, so that didn’t really change in the common knowledge. That technologically advanced city equals smart city.

There are other understandings which are not that common. So for example, we can talk about smart citizens as the smart city. Or The smart city is sustainability in an urban environment. So there are many other understandings, but I think the mainstream idea about the smart city is that it’s a technologically advanced city, which is a problem.

And then I let you ask questions.

I was going to say, cause, cause my follow up question is what is your definition of a smart city after your PhD and after this research, how would you define it now?

I wouldn’t. Because I disproved the smart city idea. So disproved means that when I started the PhD, I thought that we need to use, we need to help professionals use the smart city idea better in their practices.

After the PhD, I think that there is no such thing as the smart city, because each city is different. Each city has different characteristics, stakeholders, geography, climate, and one general universal smart city definition, which academia tends to want to do, will not suit every city. So I don’t think that there is a general definition for the smart city.

For me, smartness personally means that thinking ahead, innovation, and urban evolution, which in and of itself means different for every city. And that’s why I finished my PhD with the request or the recommendation that how about we reach the smart city and talk about something else?

Well, I think the title that you put it as smarter city, which I thought.

It was a kind of brilliant little subtle twist because it takes the emphasis for me when I hear that, it takes the emphasis off of technology because there are so many things you can do in a city that are smarter that have nothing to do with technology. It’s just how you plan the city, how you lay it out, what kind of structures you’re building.

It’s, there’s so many different aspects to that that go beyond just technology. I thought that was a really nice subtle twist. to it. I mean, that’s what I took away from it. Um, would you, would you agree with that?

Yes, very much so. So when we talk about the smart city, it means something finite, something which is achievable.

And When a city achieves something and stops evolving, it basically becomes dead. So cities evolve with us humans. Cities are the emergent properties of the urban agents, humans and environment and buildings and infrastructure living in them and using that space. Much like how bees create the swarm, the city is the emergent property of us.

So if a city stops evolving Then basically there is nothing left to live. That’s my understanding. And this is one problem with the smart city idea. The second problem is that smart means, should mean, the same for everybody. We have some definitions in the Oxford dictionary what smartness means, which should mean that there is a universal definition for smartness.

The smarter city alleviates these problems. So one, the smarter city creates the image that it’s always evolving. There’s always a next step. We can always be smarter. We can always be better. And our cities can be always better. And the second is that smarter means different for everybody. Smart already means different for everybody, but the smarter city.

This adjective helps us accept this difference, which I think is very much needed in the urban environment, because if we want to create better futures for our cities, then we need to accept that these are different things. These need different solutions. There are different problems in the different cities.

So why do we want to keep creating the same solutions for every, everything? And to be honest, I would go even one step further because the urban environment majorly or is already there. So how about we ditch the city from this false thinking and talk about our approaches, basically what you were talking about, that So, how we design these places, how we use these places, how we renovate these places, how do we retrofit these places?

So instead of talking about smarter cities, I finished my PhD, and I’m trying to do this in my real life as well, that let’s talk about smarter approaches to our cities, because Our approaches, our behaviors can be more malleable than something which is already built.

Do you have some good examples of what you’re talking about?

Like, like take a specific city. Is there, are there examples that you could kind of highlight as to like what you think would be a good example of this approach? Again, it will

depend on each city, how they approach this idea. But for example, I really like Amsterdam. ________________ They created a smart city evolution, a smart, they call it smart city.

I think it’s more of an urban evolution for their, um, area because they involved the citizens from the beginning. What the citizens think would be a good starting step. They started with energy and transportation. They highlighted one specific problem that they wanted to change. The first year was basically just technical.

The next year they asked again the citizens, what would be the next? Which we should tackle. And then they have been doing this continually, improving the city, creating that, you know, Smarter evolution involving the citizens themselves. The other really good example I like is, um, Christchurch, for example.

They also involve the citizens and there are small experiments within the city to make it better for the future. New Zealand has huge problems. It’s the most, I think it’s the most earthquake prone area. And they have been, uh, living through floods and fires and earthquakes and also attacks, terrorist attacks.

And their resilience is amazing, how they have been learning from these experiences and how they think that we don’t want this to continue to the future. What can we do to make us future proof, prevent or alleviate such disasters? So, there are a lot of research articles about this, but they talk about how we need to think not just on short term resilience, but on long term sustainability.

After the first big earthquake in 2010, um, People in Christchurch started to build up the city again, that yes, this was a disaster, we need to rebuild the city, to continue our life, to get back to normal. They had another big earthquake in 2011, and then they started to think, okay, so building up again at the same volume or at the same manner we did.

Maybe that’s not the best long term sustainable solution. So what can we do to change the outcomes if we would get another earthquake, for example? So I really like that they are learning from their experiences and they want to create something better. Currently, they are working with, um, community engagement as well, how they can involve the community through online platforms to Let us know what you want to improve here, or whether you need a playground here, or do we need some water management here?

So they want to also involve the community and help create, in helping, in creating the future of cities, in creating a better future for their cities. And that’s a very important, for me personally, aspect of creating the future of our cities, because if we involve the people of the city, and they fear that they have power over the over the beta environment, then they will feel responsible over that environment.

In the last 150 years, I will say that we, as designers, have been just providing the plans, saying, this is what you get. Please be happy with it, because we can. So it threw very well. That didn’t create real empowerment or engagement or responsibility in people that yes, I know what’s happening here. I know why this happened.

I know what will be here and I can take responsibility because I was involved in that decision. I think that partially Current urban problems are the result of this kind of behavior, because if I don’t feel responsible for a property, then I will not take good care of it. I will not pay for, make it more sustainable, make it more resilient, have better technology, have better electricity, have renewable energies.

I think partially missing because the designers, us, the urban experts, haven’t really, um, engaged the stakeholders in the design process, in the design journey.

You’re, you’re basically, my, my background is in user interface and user experience design. And what you’re talking about is user experience design, uh, talking to the users, hearing what they actually want to do, and then trying to design.

Bespoke solutions that address their concerns of what they’re going for. So do you think that is the thing that every city should do to start? If every city wanted to go down the path of creating a smarter city, where should they start? Should they start with that? Should they start with, you know, Talking to the community, getting the input and the insights from them about where they want to go.

Is that where you think things should go?

I think that each city would benefit from establishing a vision for themselves. Let it be smart. Let it be sustainable. Let it be resilient. But that vision needs to be clear and needs to be understood by the stakeholders. So what would mean for New York to be sustainable?

What would mean for Bollorat to be sustainable? What would mean for Mohács in Hungary, um, be sustainable. Those are very different definitions for the sustainability. Or smartness. Doesn’t really matter which term we use. I think the crucial part is that that city understands what they are talking about.

And since the city is the emergent property of the urban agents living in them, it’s very important that The stakeholders understand and feel connected to that vision. And then from that vision, we can establish strategies, which are longer term, maybe 10, 50 years. And then based on the vision and the strategy, we can establish the experiments, the trials, the daily and yearly tactics.

And all these need to, in my understanding, be in a continuously evolving feedback loop The experiments need to inform the vision. Are we going to the right direction? This is really the vision we want to go to. Do the strategies help us, uh, create good experiments? And do the strategies really support the vision, uh, in the longer term?

So, I don’t think that there needs to be a smarter city everywhere, but I do think that starting from a vision is very important, because if you don’t know where you are going, then even if even very, very loosely, then you can end up completely in the opposite direction. I

mean, this might tie back to what one of the questions I wanted to ask you earlier about your research, which is, you talk to a lot of different people.

Different experts, different people and different backgrounds. Is it those conversations that really kind of helped you hone in on this? Because there were probably different, when you were talking about smart cities, you’re probably getting, if you talk to two dozen different people, you probably got two dozen different answers.

Is that part of the reason why you ended up in this thinking that you’ve got right now about smart cities? It’s kind of a bespoke thing. You have to kind of look at it for yourself, for your city, come to your own terminologies, what your goals are, and then design the experience that achieves those goals.

Is that because of all those disparate answers and different points of view you got from talking to all the different people? Like, I’m just curious, like, what are some of the, like, people that you spoke to? Like, uh, what were some of their backgrounds and expertises that you, that you spoke to?

You don’t need to talk to anyone to get a feel for the city.

Fear that smart city means 400 different definitions for 300 people. You just need to read some research. Yeah, there is a, there is a famous research from 2015 and they said that in 2015 we had three to 400 different definitions for the smart city. Which is just mind boggling. That

hurts my brain.

Yeah, yes.

When I read through this huge amount of research, I wanted to find the first mention of the smart city, because maybe there would be some definitions for what it shouldn’t have been from the beginning. And Even that, um, investigation was amazing because, um, many different, uh, references pointed to different starting points.

Regardless, I found the first mention of the smart city. It was in a conference in 1990, which means that the smart city concept is older than me, which is cool, but even at the first mention of the smart city, it was not clear. Throw it in that we have been talking about smart buildings. How about we talk about smart cities?

Cool. But what that means, what does that mean? Um, and they didn’t give a definition from the beginning. So even just purely reading, that was clear. And I wanted to create a research which is practical. So besides reading this whole research and finding that academia doesn’t have an answer to the smart city question, I talked with 43 Melbourne based architects, urban planners and engineers because I wanted to understand how they understand the smart city idea and how they operationalize the smart city idea in their practice.

Well, they don’t, apparently, which is surprising, but also understandable. Academia, as I mentioned, wants to create the smart city, that one universal understanding. These practitioners have known from their practice that not that each city, each site in the city needs different solutions based on the characteristics, based on the client groups, based on the stakeholders.

So, why would one general understanding of an urban future would fit every city all over the world? And that’s how I was able to disprove the smart city idea, even though I started with let’s use the smart city for everything because that would be so good. Um, well, it turns out, maybe not. There are merits in the concept without a question, but also we need to be smarter about using this concept itself.

And since I finished the PhD, or even during the PhD, I started the podcast, which you were also involved in, um, and I have been learning even more that outside of the design profession, there are even more understandings of the smart city. topic and the definition, how individuals who are actively and cautiously working for the better future think about smartness and the smart city idea itself.

So I don’t know whether this answered your question, but

it did.

It’s, it’s amazing how many various definitions are out there. And talking with people will help you understand that. Yes, very much.

It’s funny because I like the fact that you found the first reference to Smart City and even then it was, there was no definition to it, even then.

Which explains why it’s kind of a hot mess as a term. Today, I’ve talked to different companies that create smart technologies that are designed for smart cities. And when you hear, when you talk to them, their definition is just that what probably comes to your mind first thing, like we talked about, which is, oh, it’s technology applied to a city, but yet it’s not completely correct.

So when you, when you’re looking at all these different applications and trying to make it more practical, are there concepts around smart cities? That you think are problematic, that we shouldn’t go after. I mean, it’s kind of a weird question, but like, as an example, um, when you’re talking about a technology specific thing, cameras and surveillance creeps a lot of people out.

And sometimes those technologies can be used by a city for, you know, not so great at things. It could be used to see if parking lots are empty or if they’re full. It could be used to help control stoplights around the city, but it can also be used to track citizens in ways that citizens are not going to be happy with.

So there are aspects of smart cities, and I use the technology example, it doesn’t have to be technology, but are there examples that you can think of that might be problematic? When it, when we talk about smart cities,

I think the first challenge is understanding that there is no the smart city. So these technology companies provide smart solutions, but do they solve the specific problem the city has?

That’s one thing I think, which is worth thinking about. Um, the second thing which is worth thinking about is that Technology, although we use it for IT solutions, mainly correctly, technology is a much wider. People can be very negative when they talk about technological solutions, but using a sharp knife is a technology, using a knife sharpener is a technology.

It’s not just about IT, it’s about how we use the resources we have. So, regardless of this information technology or renewable energies or using the sunlight better for our buildings and for our cities or using trees to shade the public spaces. So I think one aspect is getting rid of the, the idea of the smart city.

And the second is that technology is much wider. And then the third is. I think it’s a two way street that we can’t really say a city is smart if they have smart lights because that’s just one solution for one specific problem but maybe doesn’t solve the whole city’s problems. So how about we just say that this is a city with smart lights, which is cool, which is amazing, but differentiating the two I think would help because then we can concentrate on urban evolution instead of the label itself and Then, um, technology companies, these IT solutions, or not just IT solutions, could be used for the specific problems which we face in urban environment.

Do we need smart lights? Do we need smart traffic lights? Do we need smart, um, bins? Do we need smart cars? I have no idea. Do we need them? Do we really need them? We need to understand the urban problems. Ask Why, for at least five times for a problem to be understood, and then we can turn to solutions. Um, I just listened to Tim Ferriss podcast and I think it was 694.

When they talked about that specific person has problem meetings when they are not allowed to talk about the solutions, 60 minutes only about the problem. What is the problem? How do you understand it? How do you understand it? How do you understand it? What is a different aspect we haven’t talked about?

Let’s understand the problem and then we can apply a better solution, which is not solving the symptom, it’s solving the problem, the root cause itself.

Right. Basically, it sounds like you’re saying don’t get caught up in the IT companies or tech companies that are selling solutions for something that has a eye catching aspect to it that’s like, oh, that’s neat.

Figure out the problem first, and then you’ll decide if that’s the right solution to solve your problem or not.

Yeah, yeah. I also very much need to pay attention to not get caught in the, oh, and shiny, yay! So it’s Yes. It’s very important to think through, um, whether it’s a good item for myself or the city itself.

Yeah.

Okay, so what gaps do you think still need to be figured out in academia around the city? Smarter cities ,

that. What is academia’s role in helping cities? I think that academia has a big, big role in, and I’m specifically talking about future of cities. I dunno about the other fields because this is my area of expertise.

So , if anybody else has some good I good ideas, please let me know. I’m open to suggestions as well. Um, so I think that academia is, has a really, really big role regarding the future of cities. We have been, and I’m saying we because I’m a researcher. I done my PhD, so partially know what’s going on. Um, we have been working to create that one specific definition.

And I think that’s missing the point because, uh, Nassim Nicholas Taleb famously talks about and cheekily talks about the bird academy. People realize it. Ooh, birds fly! Researchers create case studies and theorize on why they fly, how they fly, then they invite the birds to sit in a classroom and they teach birds how to fly, then birds fly, and academia um, concludes that birds fly because of academic teaching.

This is what’s been happening with smart cities. So the first The first step with smart cities was the mention of the smart city in 1990. Then cities started to create smart city initiatives, then academia jumped in helping investigating those initiatives and trying to improve those initiatives. And then academia almost divorced from, from the practice itself of creating better cities and started to theorize on smart cities.

And then now we are trying to Apply the theories to practice, which might not be so. So I would encourage, um, future of cities researchers, smart city researchers that try to help cities in their own journey towards a better future. Practice needs academia’s help. Practice cannot experiment as widely as, and as freely as academics can do.

Practice needs the information, the proof. of the new solutions of innovation that yes, this can be used. Yes, governments can stamp on it that this is a good solution, that insurance companies can get behind the people who use those solutions. One of the biggest hurdles with innovation in, uh, the design profession, the designers, with the designers I interviewed for my PhD was that they want to innovate But partially they cannot because the insurance companies will not back them up if they use something which is novel.

For that, academia could help practice so much that this is the proof it’s working. We have been testing it for two years or whatever. And then these innovative solutions can trickle better to the practice itself. Instead of trying to create the universal definition for a specific urban future, let it be smart, sustainable, resilient, livable, well being, regardless, city decision makers and obviously governments need ideas on what the city can be in the future.

So, um, investigations of what are the problems, how can we solve those problems? What current solutions exist, and instead of trying one specific solution to fit to that city, academics and researchers could help find the specific solutions for the city itself, instead of trying to make a square from a round.

I think that’s, that’s the biggest thing which academics could help, uh, regarding the futures.

With some of my remaining questions, they’re going to be, there’s a theme here you’ll start seeing. If a politician or a government official is, has read your research or has listened to our conversation, what is the one thing that you hope they take away from that conversation?

There are people who are working on helping establish the specific future for that specific There is no need to find something shiny and new and changing all the time, um, for the vision for the city. And these people who are working on this would be happily involved as advisors. We are, we create the city.

Each and every one of us creates the city. Each and every one. Each and every every urban agent group has a specific role and has specific responsibilities to play in the city. Governments specifically, I think, are the champions of the vision because vision needs backing up. Governments are not inventive and innovative enough because they need to provide the stability of the whole society, which is completely fair.

But that means that they need information from the urban experts, experts generally, from industry, from academia, from practitioners, and from people. People are the experts of their own lives. So we need to listen to them. Coming back to governments, people who are working on this, myself included, would be happily involved in making those decisions.

Not that I want to make those decisions. I would like to provide the best possible information. And help you go through these decisions. I think governments are partially thinking about this and they know that they need advisor help. I’m not sure whether this happens enough in, uh, the urban evolution.

Again, I’m talking about only this part.

Building off of that, same question, different person. What about practitioners, architects, designers? What is the one thing you hope they take away from this?

That if we are the urban experts of the urban evolution, which we claim to be, and I’m again saying we, because I’m part of this group as well, then we need to act like those experts.

We can’t cover ourselves. That, oh, the client doesn’t want the solution, or the government doesn’t require innovative solutions or sustainability or whatever. I think that if we want to be the urban experts and be looked at. As the urban experts, then we need to provide more information, better information, supported by data and not just feelings that, Oh, this will feel better because then during the development that, that feeling can be lost.

Hard data cannot. And currently, we are in a trajectory where we can measure. Almost anything. Even the fluffy good feelings. We have measures to provide the client with that. And if we are just doing the minimum which the client requires and the regulations require, then we will be Substitute it very soon with an AI model because understanding the written stuff, understanding the regulation, understanding the client brief, AI is much better than us.

So I don’t think that that is an urban expert’s job to just provide what you were asked for. We urban experts need to get to the root of those problems, uh, those challenges. And instead of saying, Oh, you asked for this, then here, here you go. This is what you asked for. Instead, let’s ask questions. Why do you think that this would be good?

What is the problem you want to solve? And I know there are many designers who are doing this and it’s long and it’s excruciating. But when you have such a project, the client is much more grateful for your job you’ve done. And I had interviewees for my PhD and for the podcast who talked about this kind of connection between the client and the designer.

And that means also communicating better. Designers usually prove themselves that. We are good communicators, we communicate visually and it looks so awesome. And then I asked, okay, did the client stick to what you presented? Oh, no. Well, then maybe you didn’t convince the client enough, which means that there is a gap in the designer, um, community.

How we communicate our thinking. Some of my interviewees for the PhD said that they have been sitting on design boards where you judge the designs and the interviewee said that they listened to the presenter, a designer presenting their own designs, and the Interview we said that, oh my God, no , does that sound like this?

No, it shouldn’t happen. That’s not good. So I think that there is a communication gap, um, for designers, which we need to solve because otherwise we will be left behind and we are not happy future as a expert.

And the last group I wanna talk about is the individuals, the citizens, people like me or people listening to this.

What should we take away?

That you matter. Matter so much more than you can imagine. That you are a forcing function in the city. You create the city, maybe not in big ways, maybe just influencing it, how you use your car, how, where do you walk, where do you shop, how do you communicate with others, whether you are reaching out to your counselor or representative, to you.

You’ll matter in the system and you need to, if you’re willing to, you need to demand better solutions. I’m not saying that you need to know the better solutions. I’m just saying you need to demand better solutions, which means also communicating the problems you face and then letting experts. I know we are far away from that.

Um, the trust we would like to have as urban experts that we’ll listen to you and we’ll provide you a proper solution, but we will try our best. If you present us with a problem to create the best spacial solution we can. You need to demand better solutions and you need to communicate that, um, problem to us because otherwise we will never know.

You are the expert of your own life. You are the communicator of those problems. Let us help you alleviate those things with our urban expertise.

Is there anything we haven’t touched on with smarter cities in this approach that you’d want to touch on, we haven’t talked about?

Yes. Yeah. The fifth group, which we haven’t, which we have talked about, but kind of a bit negatively is industry itself.

And I don’t want to leave industry that negative space because industry has also huge, huge roles in better futures. And one is this innovative nature that industry is innovating way faster than for example governments or the designers themselves. Industry needs to keep this innovative spirit because that’s how we move forward.

It does not need to wait for governments to require better solutions, because that’s not how innovation works, that we are waiting for the regulators to ask for better solutions. It’s a constant dance. Regulation and innovation are in constant dance. Regulations have some gap, innovation fills that gap.

Then regulations are catched up, sooner or later, and that innovation can again, you Spin the whole thing. So it’s a constant dance. We shouldn’t wait for regulations to ask for better solution. That’s on us. That’s on us doing it because it’s better for the environment. Yes, that’s partially true, but it’s also more economically viable, creating more efficient solutions.

For example, there are four different fields of disrupting technologies for 10, for the next 10 to 15 years, and. They also proved it, that it’s not just about, oh, it feels good. It’s economically more viable to use clean technologies than the older, dirty ones. So let’s not stick to the older ways because business as usual, this is what we’ve been doing.

This is how we have been doing it. Let’s innovate everything and question everything. I’m not saying that Um, throw out everything through the window, but question whether this is the best way how we can do things. If it yes, keep with that. If it’s not, how we can change it for the better. I think that’s, that’s the fifth group.

And also that I call this five, that we are the urban agents. And we have collective responsibility, which sounds like, um, there is an opposition in the, in the expression, because if everybody is responsible, then nobody is responsible. But it means different. It means that each agent group knows their responsibilities and they own it.

So it’s academia working for better futures with producing proof and producing specific solutions for that city. It’s government knowing that they need to, um, ask for urban expert advice and then support the vision and also involve their citizens. It’s industry working with innovative solutions and also keeping in mind that clean technologies are coming, so how about we prepare for them?

It’s also citizens demanding better solutions and sharing their problems. And also designers think as urban experts. So it’s. Complete collaboration. It’s a collaborative, it’s a collective responsibility for our futures.

Hello. It is, it is collaborative and collective. I do like the fact that you’re calling out, we all have roles in this.

We just need to know our role and we need to just live up to it. Where should people go to find out more about you, your research, about smarter cities? Where should people go?

The easiest is my podcast called What is the Future for Cities Podcast and WTF for Cities for short, because I wanted to be cheeky with the name, where in the 120th episode, Matt was interviewed about his view on the future of cities.

But now we are reaching the 200th episode currently. So that’s exciting. And I interview people who are actively and cautiously participating. For working for better future and present ideas for start the conversation about how, what can we do, and then how that specific solution could be used in different scenarios.

So that could be one. The other is, oh, sorry. The website for that is WTF4Cities.com and the four is like the number four, not running it out. And otherwise you can find me on LinkedIn. And I also have a website titled FanniMelles.com . I think everything will be in the show notes very soon.

Yes. Yes.

And then I will also provide you with, uh, the YouTube presentation of my PhD and the link for the PhD, although I am Questioning whether anyone wants to read 200 pages, but if someone wants to, please enjoy.

I’ll definitely be putting links and stuff to that in the show notes so people can get to it easily.

And I definitely recommend the podcast. It’s a really good listen. I’ve listened to quite a few episodes. Really good interviews and congratulations on, on the longevity of it. I mean, you have, you were talking to me before the call, before the recording about some of the people coming up. There’s some good stuff coming up, so be sure to check it out.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. It’s been great having you on.

Thank you so much, Matt. It was a blast.

If you want to find out more about Fanni Melles work, please visit her websites. The links are in the description below, but they are also, I will tell them to you right now as you’re listening to the sound of my voice.

Fanni, F A N N I, Melles, M E L L E S dot com. And her WTF4, the number four, cities. com is the address of her podcast. Thank you everybody for taking the time to watch or listen. And don’t forget, if you want to support this program, really easy ways for you to do it, just. Like it or leave a review and share it with your friends.

Those are three easy ways for you to support us. And if you’d like to more directly support us, you can click the join button on YouTube, or you can go to stilltbd. fm. Click the become a supporter button there. Both of those allow you to throw coins at our heads. We appreciate the welts. And then we get down to the hard business of me talking about Matt, talking about Zack.

Thanks to everybody for taking the time to watch or listen, and we’ll talk to you next time.

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