Central and Eastern European cities need different solutions than the west. That was addressed by experts at the Smart City Forum in Pila, Poland, on the 12th of May. Should we discuss high tech street lighting when some citizens face basic problems like lack of water supply?
The Wielkopolska region, which includes the cities of Poznan and Pila, Mayor of Pila crop organised the Smart City Forum to explore opportunities together with business partners and students. The mayor of Pila, Piotr Glowski, said: ‘In the past Smart Cities were mainly explored by large cities who needed solutions for growth. Now it’s time for all city managers to make people feel they live in the cities they want to live in.’
The panel question “which of the western cities are the best examples?” seemed unfair. Experts stressed the individual needs of cities. ‘Many Polish cities require different solutions than the west’, said Wojciech Przybylski, director of the Krakow Technology Park Development. ‘We have basic problems to solve first.’ These include proper water supply or road infrastructure. In Poland, in many cases it’s not the distance that determines the time of your travel, but the quality of the roads.
However, high tech solutions are not necessarily a step too far. Experts addressed that Poland and some nearby countries have specific benefits in adopting smart solutions. Limited innovation in the past has in some cases led to less levels of complexity to overcome today. It is also clear that visible demonstration projects can be a key success factor in involving citizens in sustainable concepts. As such, street lighting from business partner Philips could be a smart first step. Especially since the company built its second biggest lighting factory in Europe in Pila, bringing employment and pride to the city.
The green zones in Pila will also play a role in the smart city focus of the city, enhancing the quality of lives. An island with tulips can be the visible attraction, inspired by the Dutch Keukenhof. Simply copying other cities, no. Copying good practice, yes.