In a dynamic interaction between innovation and urban development, Time Use Initiative participation at the Smart City Expo World Congress 2023 was a proof of the transformative power of collaboration and forward-thinking initiatives. TUI’s presence at this global event was due thanks to the collaboration agreement signed between the Local and Regional Governments Time Network and the Smart City Expo organisers.
TUI had the opportunity to host an introductory workshop on time policies conducted by Ariadna Güell, co-coordinator of the organisation, titled “Time policies: an opportunity to live better in our cities”. It brought together a diverse audience, with attendees from Latin and North America as well as Europe. Sonia Ruiz, Director of Gender and Time Policies of the Barcelona City Council also took the floor offering insights into the relationship between time and urban polices in the city. The audience actively engage in the discussion of how time policies could influence the efficiency, equality, sustainability, and overall well-being of our cities inhabitants.
The focus of the workshop was to show how time policies are not just a theoretical concept, but a concrete and practical tool for addressing the complex challenges faced by cities. By showcasing real examples, participants had the chance to discuss how these ideas could be replicable in other cities and regions. In the end, what remained clear is that time should be integrated into urban planning and governance.
One of the highlights of the event was the session hosted by UN Habitat on the topic of “People-centered Smart Cities” that cantered the discussion on how smart cities are engaging with citizens’ needs through meaningful community participation, bridging the digital divide, developing essential digital infrastructure and governance frameworks, and building capacity through multi-stakeholder partnerships. Moreover, another insightful session was the one hosted by C40 on People and Proximities, where the focus was set on fostering well-being in urban environments by promoting poly-centric access to amenities and services in every neighbourhood. These discussions align with our commitment of fostering cities that prioritize a holistic development of well-being for their citizens and had in common the centrality of the idea of proximity, both in time and space.
The Smart City Expo also granted the chance to discuss future steps of TUI collaboration with Professor Carlos Moreno and his team. His “15-minutes city or happy proximities” concept clearly connects with our vision and underscore the importance of time in urban planning and living.
To sum up, this year the Smart City Expo did not only grant the TUI and the Local and Regional Governments Time Network the opportunity to showcase the importance of time polices, but it was also a platform to reach many stakeholders, enhance future collaborations and learn about the future in urban contexts. As organisations such as TUI reflect on the rich bag of ideas and insights gathered in the three days of the event, they are inspired to continue our mission in contributing to develop smart, sustainable, and people-centered cities.