Building the Responsive City: Kista Science City

By Thomas Andersson

Thomas Andersson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Electrum Foundation and Kista Science City AB. Before that, he was working at the Stockholm Business Region Development as Chief Operating Officer. His responsibilities have included the 2012 Stockholm Meeting, the region’s involvement in the Mipim real estate fair and the Nobel breakfasts. He also launched the World-Class Business Areas development project. Thomas was Business Development Manager Sweden at Veidekke Bostad. He has also worked as Assistant Head of the City of Stockholm’s Finance Committee, with responsibilities including development and industry issues. He has worked with ICT, infrastructure and housing since the mid-1990s.

Dec 16, 2014 | Smart Cities | 0 comments


Who will you meet?

Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.

Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.


 

Imagine a place inventing the mobile phone. Imagine that same place inventing the second generation of gsm (Globile System for Mobile Communication). And the third. And the fourth. Imagine that same place in the process of inventing the fifth generation. A standard where telecommunication moves from mostly being about voice to being mainly about machine to machine.

That place is known as Kista Science City. A suburb to the north of the City of Stockholm in Sweden. Why here? And what now?

The first question is easy because it is past tense. In the mid 80’s a unique cooperation gathering the private sector, the public sector and academia decided to develop this suburb into a center for electronic research. It was partly a result of the industrial crisis in Sweden following the rather harsh 70’s. But it was led by the Mayor of Stockholm and the board of the organisation leading the work consisted of high-ranking officials from big tech-companies and universities. In particular the Royal Institute of Technology decided to point out Kista as the place to focus on radio och telecommunications.

We have been successful. Today research institutes, universities and companies – notably telecom giant Ericsson – runs it’s own ecosystem. It focuses on – of course – communication. Or as Ericsson says – The Networked Society. In just five years or so we will have at least fifty billion devices connected to the Internet.

At the same time the suburb is developing into a city centre. What prerequisites does a city centre need if it’s ambition is to underpin what the context around it is all about? Well, it needs to always supply the best Internet connection in the world. That is my opinion. It needs to showcase the future. It needs to embrace the global presence in technical progress. And it needs to understand that an abundance of cultures is an asset.

The future city – putting it short – needs to be responsive.

Responsive is beyond smart. Way beyond. Responsive is about building something where it’s inhabitants can change the reality that surrounds  them. In real time. This is not to be invented. It is really here already. In the old days, actually just a couple of years ago, smart cities where described as something where the Mayor could pull some levers and change the city. Well, that’s perhaps good for the Mayor but a bit less interesting for those living in the city.

I am more interested in a bus that when you get on it knows where you want to get off it. That’s also technique already here. Or a house that shifts color because the majority passing the house wanted it green. That might be a nuisance to most city planners or architects. I might suggest then that they decide to move into the future.

Building something that has been unseen and unheard off is not as hard as one would imagine. I think it is easier than doing something that has already been done. And definitely more rewarding. Being a copycat is never a position that will give you heads-up. Catching-up however is quite different because that is about investing in equipment that’s modern and new. Copying is doing the same with the same gear but a bit cheaper. So the rational for Kista Science City in the future is to inspire the one’s that want’s to catch-up. And they are welcome. Because without you, progress would be so much harder.

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Public-Private Collaboration – Essential for Disaster Risk Reduction

Public-Private Collaboration – Essential for Disaster Risk Reduction

A few years ago, I worked with some ARISE-US members to carry out a survey of small businesses in post-Katrina New Orleans of disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness.  One theme stood out to me more than any other.  The businesses that had lived through Katrina and survived well understood the need to be prepared and to have continuity plans.  Those that were new since Katrina all tended to have the view that, to paraphrase, “well, government (city, state, federal…) will take care of things”.

While the experience after Katrina, of all disasters, should be enough to show anyone in the US that there are limits on what government can do, it does raise the question, of what could and should public and private sectors expect of one another?

Planning for the New Mobilities

Planning for the New Mobilities

When planning for new mobilities, it is important to be a little skeptical. Advocates often exaggerate the benefits and overlook significant costs. Here’s an example. Optimists predict that autonomous cars will reduce traffic congestion, crash risk, energy consumption and pollution emissions, but to achieve these benefits they require dedicated lanes for platooning (many vehicles driving close together at relatively high speeds). When should communities dedicate special lanes for the exclusive use of autonomous vehicles? How much should users pay for the privilege? How should this be enforced? Who will be liable if a high-speed platoon crashes, resulting in a multi-vehicle pile-up?

Why Investing in Play Must Be Part of COVID Recovery

Why Investing in Play Must Be Part of COVID Recovery

Infrastructure is on the tip of every mayor’s tongue. It’s no wonder, with billions in federal funding on the table for the first time in a generation and rapidly compounding infrastructure needs. American Rescue Plan dollars represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in communities, support resident priorities, and move the needle on racial equity all at the same time. Parks and playgrounds exist in an ideal sweet spot in each of these areas, and cities should consider making investments in these vital pieces of community infrastructure as part of their recovery and resilience strategies.

The Future of Cities

Mayors, planners, futurists, technologists, executives and advocates — hundreds of urban thought leaders publish on Meeting of the Minds. Sign up to follow the future of cities.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Wait! Before You Leave —

Wait! Before You Leave —

Subscribe to receive updates on the Executive Cohort Program!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This