Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Nederland

Episode: #23 Rotterdam: Digitalisation or "Learning To Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable"

Guests: @Bas Boorsma, Chief Digital Officer of the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands


Find transcript here

Summaries of Key Takeaways:

  • Embracing Change: Bas Boorsma discusses the importance of being comfortable with discomfort in times of systemic changes.
  • Diverse Experience: Insights from Boorsma's global experiences, including his work in Cambodia and the shift to digital spaces.
  • Critique of Public Sector Models: Advocacy for an integrated approach to tackle urban challenges like climate change and digitalization.
  • Rethinking Governance: Proposal for agile, cross-disciplinary teams and involving younger generations in decision-making.
  • Advocating for a New Digital Deal: The necessity of harnessing digital advancements for societal benefits.
  • Innovative Governance Models: Suggestion of using distributed autonomous organizations (DAOs) for collaborative urban ecosystems.
  • Addressing Digital Divides: The importance of digital literacy for inclusive urban development.
  • Leveraging Digital Innovation: Commitment to using digital innovation for sustainable, inclusive urban futures through shifts in governance and collaboration.


“To you, what is a Smart City?”:

Bas Boorsma: “Um, after 20 years, I'm ever less able to come up with a good answer to that question. It gets harder. It's, it's getting harder. And right to the point it's already mentioned that I really don't like the term for the reasons already mentioned. Uh, to me as smart city is a city which, um, leverages the best of their citizens, the creativity of their citizens, the best of all stakeholders, the best of technology, the best of new designs and old designs, to arrive at a community or a city as a series of communities that is resilient, that is happy mm-hmm. <affirmative> and that this, you know, getting ready for the future and looks at the future with a sense of comfort and a sense of trust and confidence.”