Smart futures: Governance, government, and sustainable living was the name given to the two and a half days seminar delivered by UNU-EGOV Fellows Nuno Lopes and Morten Meyerhoff Nielsen. The seminar, which was held in Słubice (Poland) in July 2018, was part of a two week summer school organized by the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism (Adam Mickiewicz University). The summer school was attended by 25 master students from more than ten Asian, European, North African, and North American countries.
With a focus on the innovative aspects of the people’s involvement in public life and their possibilities of changing social, public, political realities, the participants were given a broader knowledge and practical skills on innovations in governance and on using modern technologies in governing, communication, administration etc. We chose to include the “smart governance” elements to enable each student of our Public Governance Masters Programme to apply theory and practice in different national and social contexts – says Magdalena Musial-Karg, summer school coordinator and professor at Adam Mieckiewicz University
The course combined theory, discussions, good practice examples, problem-solving, and games related to smart nations, cities, and communities. It also covered topics relevant for the smart city concept, such as cost-efficient public service delivery, universal access and engagement, economic and environmental sustainability, as well as the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of the course, students used the iCities for Green Growth case study database for practical assignments.
The students were introduced to the UNU-EGOV smart city framework and requested to use actual cases from the iCities for Green Growth and the framework for comparison of different contexts and approaches. The aim was to link the conceptual idea of smart cities to actual examples and thereby convert theory to practice – mentioned Nuno Lopes, one of the UNU-EGOV fellows who delivered the course.
The summer school topic is in line with both the research line on Smart Governance for Sustainable Cities and Communities at UNU-EGOV and the knowledge partnership with the iCities for Green Growth. In compliance with the challenge of the 2030 SDGs, the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda, the research line explores how ICT supports the development of sustainable cities and leads to a more inclusive society. While the main drivers of this research line are the development of comprehensive solutions embracing all city domains (i.e. economy, mobility, environment, people, living, and governance), special attention is given to projects on electricity, mobility, and environment sectors. These sectors are chosen as a result of their profound impact in all urban and rural communities, and domains.
The smart governance focus is a logical follow-up for students who have, in the past year, been introduced to the more classical e-Government topic and technology-enabled public service delivery, as well as innovation and digital transformation. The smart sustainable cities and communities focus allowed the students to apply existing and new insight to a practical context – the words of Morten Meyerhoff Nielsen, another one of the UNU-EGOV fellows who delivered the course.