Our aim here is to explore examples of user centric urban services and to consider how they can improve the quality of life in our cities.  A citizen centric approach is often defined as saving people time, making their lives easier, providing more choice of services and helping people to be healthier or safer. I also want to discuss if this kind of approach can not only improve the quality of life but also make our cities cleaner and smarter. 

The core message is: “if we solve the citizen’s problems first and if we do this with intuitive and easy to use tools then all of the data to make city more efficient and sustainable will be available by default”.  In the coming months I plan to speak to experts on subjects such as sharing, platform economy, sustainability, circular economy, city data platforms, citizen privacy, the future of work and health and well-being.  

In our opinion the core concept of a citizen centric, smart and sustainable city is the optimised allocation of the assets within the city. This pool of shared assets could include buildings, outdoor spaces, vehicles and even equipment such as 3D printers or DIY tools. Mobility as a service has recently been introduced to Helsinki via the whim app and it is a good example of the benefit that can be derived from sharing assets. When other spaces and assets are added to the sharing pool then we really do have the building blocks of a citizen centric, smart and sustainable city.

There are many challenges in this area with regards to personal freedom or data ownership but in our opinion the potential benefit is to great to ignore, especially with regard to reducing environmental impact. To paraphrase  a recent article in the Guardian: we are imagining a world where the digital exists with without surveillance capitalism.

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