Albert Canigueral

How can cities exploit citizens potential?

Living better with sharing 

People gather in cities with different needs of services or interests while city’s resources, nowadays especially with the crisis, remain flat if not decreasing.

It is time to be smart: to find a smart way to reduce this gap.

The concept of Smart City has failed to achieve its purpose because it did not consider the unexploited potential of citizens, deploying technocratic systems from top to bottom by both the municipality and big corporations. The power of the new city relies on the low cost of coordination. With apps like Whatsapp or FixMyStreet, massive participatory operations concerning mobility, economics, politics and city’s life can emerge from residents: shaping actively their habitat for their needs.

We are experiencing the failure of the Smart City Mere technology needs to be re-thought as a tool for citizens to collaborate among them or with the municipality and, in this vision, four new interpretations of the city can emerge.

The Fab City is a project led by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, the Fab Lab of Barcelona and Mit’s Centre for Bits and Atoms that aims to solve the problems of the city by makerspace-based innovation, promoting local production for global enrichment.

The Shareable City is an environment that enables residents to share, efficiently and safely, all kinds of assets from spaces to utilities in order to create stronger and healthier connected communities.

The Co-City is based on the idea of the city as a common. It defines citizens by duties and rights creating a network between urban authorities, local communities, civil societies, business and knowledge institutions to work together.

The Contributive City promotes a constellation of specific urban roles, acting and working together, based on the particular skills of every single resident in the city environment.

These four approaches are imperfect and still rough but considered together they can reach great solutions for the city in the digital era.

by Albert Canigueral*

  • He is an entrepreneur working to foster the adoption of the collaborative economy that is poised to change society in the next decades with deep socioeconomic innovations. He focuses on the rise of the collaborative economy.