Pnrr - Smart cities need more skills and less bureaucracy, not just public funds

Mayors and councilors speak, often and willingly, of “smart city” and the Pnrr (National recovery and resilience plan) has allocated 10 billion euros to ensure that cities are able to manage resources in a more “intelligent” and economically sustainable way. However, according to what emerged during the “Data Driven Cities” conference, organized by the consulting firm Bain & Company and the Amerigo association, there are many obstacles to transforming dreams into reality. In fact, to take advantage of the benefits of the cities of the future it is necessary to increase attention on three aspects: data governance, lack of skills and bureaucratic aspects. This applies to Italy, but also to the whole world, which is now increasingly characterized by an increasing urbanization of the population (according to the UN, by 2050, about 70% of people will live, move and work in urban areas).

The importance of data. To face economic and, even more so, demographic growth, without increasing congestion and pollution, cities will have to invest in what are considered the pillars of transformation, namely digital, mobility and energy. Only in this way will it be possible to offer citizens sustainable, accessible and inclusive solutions. There is, however, a condition for reaching such a goal: the collection, management and analysis of data must be prioritized, in order to integrate the three pillars of transformation and thus amplify economic and social benefits. Everything has a further fundamental component: the collaboration between public and private.

Seize the opportunities. “In the next three to five years, the development of smart cities will be central on a global level and for the growth of our country, as can also be seen from the resources allocated by the PNRR”, said Roberto Prioreschi, managing partner of Bain & Company Italia & Turkey, underlining the need to integrate aspects related to “electrification, decentralization and digitalization” to strengthen the transformation of urban agglomerations, generate value for society and industry (we are talking about over 2.4 trillion dollars already by 2025) increase efficiency, optimize resource allocation and develop new services. “However – warns Prioreschi – it is necessary to work urgently on all the challenges related to the digitization of smart cities: first of all data governance, lack of skills and bureaucratic aspects”.

Francois’s intervention. The event was attended, among others, by Olivier Francois, CEO of Fiat and marketing manager of the Stellantis group. The top manager immediately underlined the results achieved with the New 500: “For us it is natural, and it is our duty, to be the game changer of electric and sustainable urban mobility,” said Francois. “We are succeeding: the New 500 is already the second best-selling electric vehicle in the whole European market and leader in Italy, Germany and France”. The manager then emphasized the necessary collaboration between all parties involved in the development of cities: “To be successful and pave the way for more sustainable urban mobility, we need to work as a team, combining the efforts of multiple actors. The key and most urgent issues to be addressed are the creation of a widespread fast-charging infrastructure in cities, ‘smart’ buildings and home charging points for existing condominiums and interconnected mobility: the main mobility providers must work together to offer a combined experience (for example: train, electric vehicle and last mile). Of course, all this needs the support of various actors, both public and private: only in this way can we be successful together to create a more sustainable and better future for our citizens ”.

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