What is your most surprising prediction about cities?’
Urbanization is increasing as 55% of the world’s population live in cities, which is expected to reach 70% by 2050. My prediction would be that this number could actually get higher. However, this is down to more and more cities implementing smart city initiatives and making cities more livable. So, I foresee that several cities, which aren’t that popular today will have a good chance of being attractive and popular by 2050.
Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think about cities and technology?
I have to say Jan Gehl and his philosophy about improving the quality of life for people living in cities by putting them at the heart of urban planning. I think this is a vital consideration to also take into account when new solutions and technology are being implemented to make smart cities. Public adoption is crucial for leveraging new technology that is being implemented to gather data that can make cities smarter – and more intelligent for the benefit of the citizens.
What 2-3 books / podcasts would you recommend?
- Jan Gehl’s book Cities for People
- Morgen DAC LIVE (in Danish) – Dansk Arkitektur Center (Podcast)
- Smart and Sustainable City Podcast – Pierre Mirlese (Podcast)
Where’s the best place for new ideas?
Everywhere. Just keep your eyes and mind open to new perspectives. It’s easier said than done, but listening to people around you both in professional and personal contexts can foster vast amounts of innovative ideas.
In cities, you have to explore the city and observe how people are using it. And whenever you are using a service yourself, try to observe your own level of satisfaction. If you are not too satisfied with the service, chances are that many other people will feel the exact same way.
Who inspires you?
I believe there’s inspiration in everyone. What’s important is to seek inspiration and take in what you feel good about from several sources, combine it with your own character and become an even better version of yourself.
What are the skills we’ll need in 10 years?
To make cities more sustainable and livable in the future, we need to welcome new technology that makes a city more intelligent, safe and healthy. But that also means we need to welcome new habits as an individual in terms of how we utilise a city and live in general. We need to welcome green mobility options much more, new ways of taking care of household waste and trust open data policies to mention a few.
In a business context, I think we need to find motivation in being self-managing and acquire a very proactive character. The future will test us in several ways, I believe, and being present and putting a lot of effort and energy into what you are doing right now, will give you the best cards to face the future.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Build relationships and seek win-win scenarios. I believe people come before processes, so never take an opportunity for granted and always be proactive in meeting people you feel that you want to connect with.
What is your call to action?
The climate challenges that we are facing all around the world are my call to action. We have to make room for new technologies and new habits, not only at a city or corporate level, but also at an individual level. It’s an exciting journey to be part of, but also the most challenging of our time.
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