Smart City and Blockchain: Challenges and Opportunities

Smart City and Blockchain: Challenges and Opportunities

According to Rakesh Kaul, Partner at PwC, “a smart city is an implementation of an advanced and modern urbanization vision”. So, smart cities are structured to allow operational efficiencies, maximize environmental sustainability efforts and deal with citizen services such as:

  • citizen identities management and citizen participation;
  • payment system between people and organization;
  • employment;
  • health;
  • culture;
  • transportation;
  • environment and space;
  • energy and waste;
  • land management;
  • clean habitat;
  • infrastructure.

In this economic, social, technological and political context, these shifts are reshaping the world and new challenges arise for countries and particularly for cities. As governments are seeking to incorporate innovations within their smart cities, blockchain can offer something more.

So, blockchain’s role is quickly increasing because it brings decentralization, erases intermediaries, brings security among the systems and interoperability among users. To be clear, blockchain is a trusted distributed ledger system across a network of users. It is a system, where the parties cooperate to ease the transaction process, make it more anonymous and yet more secure.

According to Tom Zilavy, IBM Blockchain and Cloud solutions,  blockchain can be utilized for smart cities in different ways: first of all, blockchain can push citizens to smart choices motivating their behavior: for example, thanks to a smart contract, public authority will be able to automatically give you a reward for a conscious good behavior such as using public transport in your city; then, blockchain could increase effectivity offering the possibility to have all the information in one database with participants having predefined permissions to view or change (transact) the information they need (in the case of a smart trash bin); finally, blockchain can make energetics efficient: for example, citizens with solar panels on their houses could, thanks to smart contracts, automatically trade their unused electricity with their neighbours and others that are connected to the grid. These transactions would be executed automatically, with the help of smart contracts and therefore effectiveness would be achieved.

City worldwide are implementing blockchain projects: Estonia has catapulted itself on the global stage as a digital nation by proactively supporting blockchain startups and embracing blockchain in its own operations. In this context, Tallin hosts, for example, e-residency program that allows anyone to incorporate a digital enterprise in Estonia, without ever having set foot there; the Estonian Cryptocurrency Association, a nonprofit in Tallinn, has taken up the charge to help promote the ecosystem locally and globally. In Singapore, Smart Nation strategy seeks to transform former fishing villages into living laboratory of innovation, and that type of proactive thinking is one reason it’s 2018 year’s world leader in blockchain. Singapore GovTech office is exploring a handful of blockchain use cases, while the Monetary Authority of Singapore has pioneered a decentralized inter-bank payment and settlements solution. Finally, the city of Austin in Texas is currently piloting a program in which its 2,000 homeless residents will be given a unique identifier that’s safely and securely recorded on the blockchain

Blockchain brings a lot of pros but there are a great number of challenges still open. There is lack of coherent regulation, many players want to centralize blockchain and there is a need to increase performance, interoperability and reduce complexity and cost.

“UIA innovative approaches to tackle urban poverty”: how to tackle the problem of urban poverty

“UIA innovative approaches to tackle urban poverty”: how to tackle the problem of urban poverty

UIA is a European initiative created to test new solutions and to tackle emerging urban challenges.

Some of these solutions were collected by Nils Scheffler, UIA expert for the Use-It project, in his paper “UIA innovative approaches to tackle urban poverty “.

In fact, among the difficulties faced by the various urban contexts, there is the one concerning poverty.

This article, written after the seminar on 11 October 2018, during the European Week of Regions and Cities, quotes as an example the six cities Barcelona, ​​Birmingham, Lille, Nantes, Pozzuoli, Turin, which participate in the first call for proposals on the theme of urban poverty and which are adopting, with the support of UIA, innovative solutions to tackle this problem.

 

 

One of the most interesting aspects that emerges from the article is the one concerning the Public-private-community partnerships. In these particular types of partnership there is a more specific focus on what concerns the local foundation and the local development. In fact, the various target groups have been involved in the projects since the beginning.

A good example of how the Public-private-community partnerships can be particularly effective in combating the poverty is in the Co-city project from Turin where the municipality collaborates in the governance of the Commons with the various local associations and residents through the “Pacts of collaboration “. These are described by Christian Iaione, professor at Luiss Guido Carli and expert of the Co-City project, as “legal tool through which the forms of cooperation between city inhabitants and the City administration address urban poverty through an urban commons-based approach i.e. stimulating collective use, management, ownership of urban assets, services, the way infrastructure is implemented”.

 

 

“CINQUANT’ANNI DI STANDARD URBANISTICI (1968-2018)”: 12 e il 13 dicembre 2018

“CINQUANT’ANNI DI STANDARD URBANISTICI (1968-2018)”: 12 e il 13 dicembre 2018

In occasione dei 50 anni dall’approvazione del Decreto Interministeriale 1444/1968, meglio noto come Decreto sugli standard urbanistici, si terrà a Venezia presso il palazzo Badoer il seminario nazionale del SIU (Società Italiana degli Urbanisti), “CINQUANT’ANNI DI STANDARD URBANISTICI (1968-2018)”.

Nel seminario ci sarà occasione di rileggere la norma sugli standard urbanistici in correlazione al tema del welfare urbano, per poter così riflettere su quelle pratiche e discorsi che hanno determinato i suoi enunciati e i ruoli.

Sarà inoltre dibattuto il ruolo che il decreto ha avuto nella edificazione delle città, nel patrimonio di suoli e manufatti pubblici, nel benessere collettivo e nella democratizzazione dello spazio urbano.

Vi sarà poi modo di analizzare la nuova rotta che sta prendendo la società e la città contemporanea nella indagine sperimentale di nuove dimensioni del benessere individuale e collettivo, e di conseguenza come il decreto possa essere considerato ancora attuale e in grado di far fronte alle prorompenti novità, oppure si debba cominciare a pensare a una sua revisione.

Nella due giorni prenderà parte, in rappresentanza di LabGov, la dottoressa Elena De Nictolis, la quale parlerà dei nuovi usi e gestioni delle attrezzature di interesse comune.

 

Workshop on ‘Local Communities and Social Innovation for the Energy Transition’ November 22-23

Workshop on ‘Local Communities and Social Innovation for the Energy Transition’ November 22-23

In an increasingly polluted world the local communities bring with them a huge, but unfortunately often neglected, potential for the development of social innovation initiatives aimed at a radical change in favor of renewable energy.

The seminar “Local Communities and Social Innovation for the Energy Transition” to be held at JRC Ispra Site (Ispra, Varese, Italy) on 22 and 23 November 2018 aims to study this potential and research recommendations aimed at obtaining a better exploitation of energy resources.

Furthermore, existing obstacles and conditions that favor or undermine the potential of local communities in the development of remedies of this kind will be discussed, as well as new models of innovation governance useful for the growth, consolidation and dissemination of social innovation initiatives in local communities.

We will also discuss the characteristics that allow local energy communities to be recognized in the panorama of EU regulations and how they can be disseminated through European policy. Some of the main existing examples of initiatives of local energy communities developed in the EU will be discussed below.

Finally, particular attention will be given to the important role that can be played by municipalities, both as local energy communities, as facilitators and as promoters of social innovation initiatives.

At the seminar will be present: Nicola Labanca (JRC Energy Efficiency and Renewables Unit), Sabine Hielscher (University of Sussex – UK), Josh Roberts (RESCoop.eu, Belgium), Paolo Bertoldi  (JRC Energy Efficiency and Renewables Unit), Christian Iaione (LUISS Guido Carli University, IT), David Hammerstein (Commons Network), Fritz Reusswig (Potsdman Institute for Climate Impact Research, DE), : Daniele Paci (JRC Energy Efficiency and Renewables Unit), Jan Steinkohl (European Commission, DG ENER, Brussels), Dirk Hendricks (European Renewable Energy Federation, Brussels), Nikolaos Hatziargyriou (National Technical University of Athens, EL), Fabio Monforti (JRC Air and Climate Unit), Anna Mengolini (Energy Security, Distribution and Markets Unit, Joint Research Centre), Sarah Rieseberg (Arepo Consult, DE), Chiara Candelise (IEFE Bocconi University, IT), Gianluca Ruggieri (Insubria University, IT), Dick Magnusson (Linköping University, SE), Verhoeven Sofie (Ghent Municipality, BE), Lourdes Berdié (Network for Energy Sovereignty – Barcelona).

Professor Iaione, co-founder of LabGov, will present in the second discussion panel “Governance and Local Communities’ Social Innovation: which governance
approaches are needed to stimulate this innovation?” on the “Pooling Economy, Tech Justice and Urban Experimentalism for a Human Rights-based Approach to the Sharing Economy”.

Politiche del quotidiano by Ezio Manzini

Politiche del quotidiano by Ezio Manzini

Tuesday, March 27, Instituto della Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani is going to host the launch of “Politiche pubbliche” (“daily politics”), a book written by Professor Ezio Manzini, DESIS Network‘s founder.

Daily politics are those that each of us implement developing our own life goals and projects. They can confirm the tendency to develop new forms of connected solitude, or either to create flexible, open and inclusive communities who are, for this reason, resilient and socially sustainable.

“Politiche del quotidiano” finds in social innovation some examples of how, in hard times, the second path can be feasible. They teach us that, combining autonomy and collaboration, it is possible to develop unedited forms of design intelligences. For our own good, for its own’s community and for society as a whole.

Together with the author, the event is going to host Marianella Sclavi, Federica Fava and Bertram Niessen.


Martedì 27 marzo l’Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani ospiterà la presentazione di “Politiche pubbliche”, il nuovo libro del Professor Ezio Manzini, edito da Che Fare

Le politiche del quotidiano sono quelle che ciascuno di noi mette in atto sviluppando i propri progetti di vita. Esse possono confermare le tendenze verso nuove forme di solitudine connessa. Oppure concorrere a creare comunità flessibili, aperte e inclusive. E, per questo, resilienti e socialmente sostenibili.

Politiche del quotidiano trova nell’innovazione sociale esempi di come, anche in tempi difficili come questi, la seconda strada sia praticabile. Essi ci insegnano che, coniugando autonomia e collaborazione, è possibile sviluppare inedite forme di intelligenza progettuale.  Per il bene proprio, della comunità di cui si è parte e della società nel suo complesso.

Ezio Manzini si occupa da molti anni di design per l’innovazione sociale e di come promuovere una nuova cultura del progetto. Su questi temi ha fondato una rete internazionale, DESIS Network, e svolge attività di ricerca e didattica in diverse università. Il suo ultimo libro, Design, When Everybody Designs, MIT Press, 2015, è stato pubblicato in 7 lingue.

Saranno ospiti dell’evento, insieme all’autore, Prof Marianella Sclavi, Federica Fava and Bertram Niessen, scientific director of CheFare.