The challenge of managing smart cities

Today cities are home to 54% of the world's population, and that figure is expected to rise to 66% by 2050.

12 July 2022 Tuesday 13:14
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The challenge of managing smart cities

Today cities are home to 54% of the world's population, and that figure is expected to rise to 66% by 2050. Environmental, social and economic sustainability is now more critical than ever with the rapid expansion of cities and the increasingly obvious scarcity of our resources.

The process towards urbanization to cities has become inevitable in both developing and developed countries, as more and more people move closer to towns and cities to obtain services and social and economic benefits.

Based in Mataró, HUB4T, the TecnoCampus permanent training center, launches a new master's degree in Management, Computer Science and Urban Engineering, which will take place from January to December 2023, aimed at all professionals who wish to work in the development of sustainable management of cities and in the provision of services, through new information technologies. Its mission is to train technicians who are capable of transforming and managing cities, as well as facing the future challenges posed by today's society.

The direction of the master's degree is carried out by the civil engineer Xavier Font i Mach, and by Dr. Ester Bernadó, director of the TecnoCampus Polytechnic Higher School. Xavier has extensive experience in project management, construction site safety management and coordination, and safety management. Currently, he is the dean of the College of Engineers, Public Works and Civil Engineering of Catalonia.

According to Font, this master's degree is necessary because “our society is immersed in global change. This is characterized by its disruptiveness and speed of transformation. The municipal technicians have the challenge of being prepared and being aware of the tools to achieve these changes that are necessary to make in our cities”. Therefore, its objectives revolve around three fundamental ideas: Ways to design and manage our city, how to improve and make life easy for citizens and achieve the goal of sustainability.

With the rapid growth of new cities, new challenges arise that urban design must face. Smart city planning is crucial. However, to be truly smart, these cities must be properly designed and developed. “Studying how the new mobility should be is one of the axes to be addressed. But we believe that we cannot forget about public space, what uses and priorities we give to each square meter. We need to imagine the city as a resilient scenario for future impacts with a medium and long-term vision”.

The concept of the 15-minute cities proposes reorganizing neighborhoods so that no one has to travel more than a quarter of an hour from home to access any basic service, thus reducing travel emissions and improving quality of life.

This idea has been successfully developed in some cities, but is its application viable in all of them? "We must imagine new ways of designing and managing the city under the premises that we must face constant change and the capacity for permanent transformation," says Font.

The master's degree will analyze the fundamental actions and projects that must be carried out to proactively influence a real change and also promote the co-responsibility of citizens, making them participate in strategies to improve it.

“Looking back in history we can see that episodes like the 1854 cholera epidemic in London prompted essential improvements in water quality, rubbish collection and sewerage. In the same way, the recent global covid-19 pandemic has fostered the appearance of certain innovations that in the future could become a regular part of urban management”, he explains.

Students who graduate from the master's degree in Management, Informatics and Urban Engineering will have the necessary knowledge to face and plan changes that provide people with a better quality of life in cities, all based on the foundations of sustainable development and with the aim of moving towards cities that are self-sufficient and well-connected.



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