Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital and largest city, is a vibrant centre of economic, cultural, and innovative activity. This year, Ljubljana is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jože Plečnik, an imaginative urban designer and architect whose work had a lasting impact on the built environment - such as the unique Triple Bridge which connects the city’s well-preserved medieval section with its commercial hub.
Smart City Portraits
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After surviving decades of occupation by a foreign power, how does a city restore and capture the value of its strengths in the arts and cultural heritage? This is a question that Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, faced in the early 1990s after the country regained its independence from the Soviet Union.
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Bologna, the seventh-largest city in Italy and capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, was recently named as one of the top three smart cities in the country. The city was praised for its decisions and actions to "bring together the quality of the environment, welfare policies and territorial innovation in an overall balance." This smart city portrait provides a summary of Bologna's strategy and vision of a citizen-centric collaborative future.
8 MIN. READ
Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, has been known during its renowned history as a magnet of commercial, cultural, scientific and political activity. This thriving city, also known as the City of a Hundred Spires, is home to more than 1.2 million people and generates an estimated 25 per cent of the Czech Republic's GDP. With its enchanting architecture, visual charms and historic landmarks, Prague is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
If we could travel back in time to visit Prague in the 14th century, we would see builders constructing the Charles Bridge across the Vltava River to connect the city's Staré Město (Old Town) with Malá Strana (Lesser Town). Fast forward to the 21st century and we observe Prague striving to build a new type of bridge. As this article reveals, it is a bridge of urban transformation connecting today's city to a smart city future.
8 MIN. READ
Zaragoza: Pioneering a Citizen-Centric Smart City Vision
Fifteen years ago, Zaragoza - the historic Spanish city situated between Madrid and Barcelona - pioneered a vision of a future digital district and knowledge-based society. Since then, the city has developed an impressive portfolio of smart city projects and new urban services. According to Daniel Sarasa, Urban Innovation Planner in Zaragoza and internationally recognized smart city innovator, one of Zaragoza's unique strengths is its culture of citizen involvement and participation. This culture has its roots in the reawakening of democracy. In the late 1970s, the city of Zaragoza (like other cities in Spain) looked back on thirty five years of dictatorship – and looked ahead to an uncertain future. During the years of dictatorship, Zaragoza had grown in population from approximately 235,000 to more than 500,000, but the civic infrastructure and public services needed to support this urban growth were inhibited by an autocratic national government which maintained severe austerity measures.