Lahti sub-region, Lahti, Finland

Episode#19 Lahti & Maptionnaire: "The Best Experts Are The Citizen Themselves"

Guests: Johanna Palomäki, City Architect at the city of Lahti and Maarit Kahila, CEO of Maptionnaire


Find transcript here

Summaries of Key Takeaways:

  • Enhanced Citizen Participation: Utilizing Maptionnaire to actively involve citizens in the city's planning processes.
  • Sustainability Initiatives: Lahti's commitment to environmental sustainability is underscored through various projects.
  • Digital Engagement Tools: Maptionnaire's role in enabling more democratic and inclusive urban development practices.
  • Project Outcomes: Discussion on the tangible benefits and improvements in urban life resulting from these participatory approaches.
  • Future Directions: Lahti's ongoing plans to leverage technology and citizen feedback for sustainable urban development.


“To you, what is a Smart City?”:

Maarit Kahila: “Oh, <laugh>. This is, this is tricky because I have been actually criticizing a lot of the concept and that, um, to be honest, I mean of, I mean smart city, I mean, because it used to be more just know about technology and I was a little bit irritated that, okay, now we are designing this, talking, um, talking bins and, you know, all these sort of different kinds of, you know, new thingies that are just smart. And I felt always that is this, now that we are just creating and generating a lot of new technologies and, and stuff, you know, so I I have been quite critical towards the term I have to say, but I think smart city at best is a city where we, we use certainly tools and technology and digital, digital ways and channels and all that, but we, it's the people who drive the use of these tools and it's, it's all about the people, people behind the technology, people using the technology. And I think we have to take ownership and control when it, like what we want and when it is, um, valuable for the making of the city, that we just don't do that for the sake of being smart and bringing new technology in. So we are a little bit more mindful. And also I have to say that nowadays in this sort of, uh, ecological crisis in which we are, and climates and all that, so I would like the smart city thinking to concentrate also more to the sustainability, uh, issues and that side. So it's balancing in a way” 

Johanna Palomäki: “Absolutely. I think a smart city is a smart community, so it's all about people and, and working, working together. And uh, that was a good point that you made mar that smartness very, very much should be about sustainability as well. So it's not, not just technology. Technology can be smart and it can support these goals of, of being a smart community together. Like, like your, your technological tool, er does that, but it's not only that.”