The success of a smart city comes through an integrated approach in planning energy-efficient buildings, mobility and ICT solutions. City managers use indicators, numerical parameters to set, manage and monitor the interventions.
However, smart city solutions have often been criticised for being too techno-centric, lacking focus on people’s needs. Most municipalities are now aware that social impact has to be taken into account. Therefore researchers are now including indicators to measure the quality of life in urban centres.
Aapo Huovila from VTT, a Finnish company specialised in tests for smart cities technologies, is working on this issue under the EU project MAtchUP. He explains: “We go beyond traditional technical and environmental indicators, such as measuring building energy consumption through smart metres. In fact, we add a strong economic and social evaluation framework, assessing the cost efficiency, benefits, innovation, community involvement and social acceptance of smart city solutions.”
“Considering these different perspectives at the same time, it is possible to develop solutions that not only have high technical performance and low environmental impact, but are also economically feasible and socially desirable by the citizens.” To achieve this, data from statistics, monitoring equipment and sensors, are combined with questionnaires, interviews or qualitative expert assessments to obtain the social parameters.
Watch the video interview with Aapo Huovila.
By Claudio Rocco