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Tech-derived knowledge could help our cities

Scritto da Stefano Monti il 1 Febbraio 2020 in Editoriali

Obviously, this is not a new idea.

Since years, We daily hear about new technologies could help us in creating a better environment, through the analysis of data that users generate.

Big data, small data, data harvesting, data mining are concepts that are widely acknowledged, today.

Still, there are not sufficient implementations to surely affirm that the usage of the knowledge that this huge amount of data provide, is truly helpful in designing new urban policies or other interventions at the city level.

More in detail, we could affirm that, today, in Italy, there is a significative lack of connection between the R&D improvements of these years and the Public Administration or the governance of big enterprises.

In other terms, while on one hand there are several tech-innovations created by start-ups run by young entrepreneurs, on the other hand we have not enough implementations within the urban context.

Though, without implementations, research is a sort of an artwork.

So, after the art for the art’s sake, we created research for research’s sake.

There is not a unique responsible for this condition: there are several trends that bring us where we are.

For this reason, we do need a more profound reflection about the topic.

Our economic fabric is characterized by a large amount of Small and Medium Enterprises, which have not enough economic resources to invest in large technology projects. This evidence leads us to one of the reasons why we do not have a strong connection between the world of the academic research and the entrepreneurial system.

Meanwhile, big enterprises both public and private owned, are run by managers and governances with a mean age of almost 50 years and this could not help us in creating innovation.

There are also cultural reasons that prevent us in empowering our innovation capacity: while other western countries created an investment culture in line with the needs of technology sectors, in our country the investment culture is less incline to these forms of investment, and we still prefer in investing in real-estate or in other consolidated financial products.

Several experts call for public intervention in order to enhance tech-investments: this is not a suitable way to create a better “tech environment”.

To really improve our condition, we need a “trial market”, in which we could launch new projects, in order to analyze results, potentiality and critical issues. Such a trial market could perform as a beta-market-testing for the launch of new projects and services.

Small enterprises and start-ups, could in this way either create a track-record to show to future clients, and improve their projects, adopting them to the real word necessities.

It is clear that “Culture” could be this market.

Firstly, Cultural System represents a slow environment that involves a big number of individuals that daily expire museums and art galleries.

Secondly, Cultural system relies on values that could facilitate the adoption of technologies and the user engagement with positive results both for the cultural institution and for the technology provider.

Thirdly, Cultural system shapes our cities: historical town, archaeological sites and monuments, museums, buildings with a high cultural and architectural value are widespread in our urban geography, and this could create the preconditions for switching technology adoption from the cultural system to the overall urban system.

We do not need more public investments: we do need more public visions.

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