8 July, 2015
In the years following the financial crisis many of us remember the images of vacant buildings that were displayed in programs like Salvados. There would be virtually empty public places and transportation where our people counters would have died of boredom. Airports, train stations and even technology centers were all affected by this crisis, because in many cases they were built without a clear demand. The debts and maintenance costs of these useless buildings has been burned deeply into the minds of citizens who now want to invest in more rational and social projects.
Past Spanish municipal elections have shown that the existence of a new trend, especially in large cities, where people want Urbanism to connect people and to better understand the dynamics of the citizens. The discussions in the elections focused significantly on the use of space and the results allow us to deduce a paradigm shift in several major capitals.
When considering the major lines of action discussed throughout the elections, we believe the following should be prioritized when building future cities:
– Evaluating investments with cost-benefit ratios, taking into account social and environmental issues.
– Promoting the use of public transportation, making it more efficient and adapting to real demand.
– Lessen the impacts of tourism by avoiding heavy traffic at specific points and distributing it to different points in the city
– Reduce private car ownership by introducing measures such as creating tolls, which have been effective in London
– Diminish energy expenditure by creating intelligent systems that operate on demand and using people counting systems that display the real-time environment (empty parking spaces, number of people present, level of CO2 concentration, etc.)
Working in this direction will allow for and encourage citizen participation in decision making and planning sessions. Getting data to better understand the dynamics of citizens (flows of people, bottlenecks, factors affecting behavior, etc.) will allow us to act on the basis of objective information. We believe that technology should serve as the basis for cities of the future that can be more participatory and intelligent.