Cascais, Portugal

Episode#62 SMCNetZero Project: Cascais - Small City, Big Impact

Guests João Dinis, Office Coordinator at Cascais Ambiente, a company owned by the Municipality of Cascais, Portugal

Find transcript here


Summaries of Key Takeaways:  

  • Cascais Ambiente's Role: Focused on environmental services and innovation in Cascais, promoting sustainability and climate action. 
  • Smart Waste System: An example of leveraging technology for efficient waste management, optimizing routes and services. 
  • Citizen Engagement: Emphasizes co-creation with citizens in decision-making for a sense of ownership and active community involvement. 
  • Decarbonization Challenges: Highlights efforts in mobility and building sectors to achieve net zero, including free public transportation and promoting energy communities. 


“To you, what is a Smart City?”

João Dinis: “Well, a smart city is a city where all the talent in it, the human talent, the knowledge that people bring, is properly appraised and used on changing the city. That's all. I would say. I can rephrase that in a better, more nicer way, but basically, that is it. A smart city uses technology for the benefit of humans, for the benefit of what we want. Personal relations can be augmented by technology. And that's a smart city. We have tools, the market has tools provided for us. We have needs, we develop them. But a smart city uses this technology for the benefit of people to make sure that we are interacting more, we are living more, we are living better with less use of resources and making everyone happier in the process. Difficult question.”   



  • Engaging citizens in the decision-making process fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility towards their city, leading to more sustainable and accepted urban projects. 

By co-creating, we're making sure that we understand what are the needs of people. And by co-creating, we help them to feel like they actually own the place themselves.- João Dinis 

  • Innovative approaches to common urban challenges, like transportation, can lead to significant improvements in environmental sustainability and citizen satisfaction. 

We developed Europe’s first free public bus transportation system within a Mobility as a Service scope.” - João Dinis 

  • Public-private partnerships and active participation in EU projects can accelerate innovation and the implementation of sustainable solutions. 

We work with a lot of private companies that want us to be their test beds of solutions, that want our input for their solutions.