Note — Apr 04, 2021

Digital Sovereignty and Smart Cities: What Does the Future Hold?

Good interview with Francesca Bria on cities, real democratic processes, urbanism, data, commons, and a green digital transition. All things I’ve featured here before, good read nonetheless for the clear vision in her replies, the mention of “smart working,” a term I like, but I’m also noting it for a short passage. In it, Bria goes from “Italy, for instance, is mostly made of villages and inland areas,” to mentioning the 15 minutes city. I’d never considered the two together but it’s a glimpse at a variable density of connected villages. Some are metaphorical ones and close together, the re-invented neighbourhoods, some are better-served and more distanced “real” villages, both meshed together. Yes, that’s kind of what we have now in most places but framing them like this is a nice little shift in perspective, I think.

[I]ncluding fundamental points such as increasing the extension of cycle paths and green spaces, new spaces for culture, support for local production, shops and crafts according to a circular economy model, public management of water supplies, projects dealing with the reduction of environmental pollution. […]

The Declaration drafted by the coalition clearly states that foundations of human rights such as privacy, freedom of expression, democracy and active involvement of citizens must be part of the development of digital technologies and platforms, starting from those digital infrastructures and services that are managed at a local scale. […]

[D]ata become a common that cities can use to tackle environmental and social issues, preserving at the same time citizens’ privacy, security and fundamental rights. […]

In the words of Stefano Boeri, our cities might morph into a series of archipelagoes, made of self-sufficient neighborhoods and villages drastically reducing the movements. Such reduction would not reduce the circulation of culture, knowledge and information, though.