Helsinki sub-region, Espoo, Finland

Episode#17 KONE & Espoo : "Co-Creation is the Key"

GuestsMerja Honkanen, Project Manager at KONE and Elina Wanne, the Project Manager for the SPARCS project at the city of Espoo, Finland


Find transcript here

Summaries of Key Takeaways:

  • SPARCS Project: Highlights Kone and Espoo's roles in creating smart, sustainable solutions, particularly in energy efficiency and community engagement within urban districts.
  • Co-Creation Importance: Emphasizes co-creation as crucial for involving various stakeholders, including citizens, in the development process, ensuring solutions meet diverse needs.
  • Innovative Approaches: Discusses employing innovative technologies and methodologies, like digital twins and IoT, for enhancing urban living.
  • Challenges and Adaptations: Reflects on adapting to challenges such as COVID-19's impact on community engagement methods.
  • Future Directions: Explores the future of the partnership, focusing on continuing collaboration, innovation, and sustainable urban development.


“To you, what is a Smart City?”:

Elina Wanne: “Sure. Despite of my background in engineering, I, I, I somehow nowadays, uh, prefer to describe a smart city as, as built for people by people. And really it's, it's about creating, like Mary said earlier, livable, livable, uh, space. And, um, it's, it's more like about the people then the technology. In my point of view. We need the technology of course, to support that. But if the people are not pro and, and, and with, when you, um, when you develop it, it's, it won't work. You need the people to make the technology work, and that's with the smart city. And then of course, for me, smart city means also sustainable city. I sometimes tend to say smart and sustainable city, but if I'm just talking what smart city it includes, it's, it's included. It's also sustainable. It's not smart. It's not smart to be, to be unsustainable or, or did I said correct. Yes. But yes, the people make the smart city.”  

Merja Honkanen: “Yeah, I think very, very good one. It's not smart to be unsustainable, Speaker 3 00:39:14 <laugh>. Um, so going, going to the same direction, I would say that smart cities are, are cities are urban environments that are co-created among, uh, private, public and or people partnerships. So this kind of, um, this kind of, uh, triangle of, of different, uh, organizations and different partners who create that smart city, it cannot be smart if, if, if it doesn't engage and include everyone. Um, and then, uh, also the, the important aspect is yes, sustainability. And, and that is from a very kind of environmental point of view, um, that the solutions in, in smart city, uh, rather, uh, decrease carbon emissions rather than increase. Uh, and also, uh, they, these solutions and smart cities, they, they are also socially sustainable so people can, can live, uh, livable, lovable cities. So something where, where there's space for, for people and space for life, uh, rather than, uh, blocks where, where you, where you enter and, and really this dense, uh, cities might not be the way we want to live, uh, for the, for the next 10 years or even even beyond that. It's, it should have space for, for people to live. And then, uh, maybe, uh, a fourth aspect or I lost account is the, the use of, of data and the use of kind of, uh, uh, yeah, new technologies, but more importantly, what do we do with this kind of, uh, huge amount of, of data that we can now, nowadays get from the different systems that, that work in the cities? Uh, a lot of companies talk about big data. Uh, cities talk about big data, but it's not something that we can just utilize. We have to also learn, learn to use it and, and kind of build the capabilities to, to learn from that data and, and utilize that data in a smart way. So I think these are the building blocks of, of smart cities.”