Dialogue with the Italian Youth on Smart Cities

Students from Bolzano marched to EURAC Research on 15 February 2019 and learned of STARDUST’s core value on putting citizens first when designing smart cities.

Schools from all over the world called out a strike to support Sweden’s young Greta Thurnberg’s campaign against climate change. High school students demonstrated in the streets of Bolzano as well and went to Eurac Research – one of STARDUST’s partners – to attend a lecture on smart cities.

Daniele Vettorato from Eurac Research explained to the crowd of more than 300 young people why it is so important for our cities to become smarter. Cities, he told them, have significant investment potential. It is estimated that by 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. That is why reducing energy consumption in metropolitan areas can have a major impact on the ecological footprint.

Vettorato explained the importance of citizens’ participation when designing a smart city—without it, cities become deserted. This is what happened in Masdar City, a neighbourhood within Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates that was designed to be zero emission, but which is uninhabited.

Daniele Vittorato from EURAC discussing the future of smart cities to high school students from Bolzano

The involvement of citizens, Vettorato stressed, is the heart of any smart city design. In the STARDUST project, 500 tenants of 164 apartments in Trento-Trentino are regularly involved in the different phases of the project of their lodgings energy retrofit project. Whenever a decision is made, their opinion matters.

With this conversation, STARDUST partners in Trento hope to inspire its youth as they will be the torchbearers of the cities of tomorrow.