Pilot Scheme 1

 

Pilot Scheme 1 (PS-1): A holistic multicultural integrated interdisciplinary approach to energy and smart cities inviting collective citizen participation.

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Abstract: The majority of citizens fails to understand why (apart from paying the bill) energy forms an integral part of and therefore cannot be dissociated from their everyday concerns. This is because “energy” is still too abstract a term to awaken any significant interest in the population. Changing the citizens’ behaviour towards energy use necessarily requires education through interactive collective citizen participation. Since sustainable energy, energy efficiency, transport, refurbishing/retrofitting buildings, urban architecture and planning, ICT/Digital technology, governance, environment, citizen society well being and quality of life are all interconnected and affect city life, these interactive components must be presented together encouraging holistic thinking. Pilot Scheme 1 does exactly that. PS1 is a typical integrated interdisciplinary project that blends together multi-level governance with new capacity-building at local, regional, national and even international levels.Abstract: The majority of citizens fails to understand why (apart from paying the bill) energy forms an integral part of and therefore cannot be dissociated from their everyday concerns. This is because “energy” is still too abstract a term to awaken any significant interest in the population. Changing the citizens’ behaviour towards energy use necessarily requires education through interactive collective citizen participation. Since sustainable energy, energy efficiency, transport, refurbishing/retrofitting buildings, urban architecture and planning, ICT/Digital technology, governance, environment, citizen society well being and quality of life are all interconnected and affect city life, these interactive components must be presented together encouraging holistic thinking. Pilot Scheme 1 does exactly that. PS1 is a typical integrated interdisciplinary project that blends together multi-level governance with new capacity-building at local, regional, national and even international levels. PS 1 shall therefore explore how to optimise the processing of Big Data and IoT for the sustainable benefit of the villages/towns/cities/rural areas on Planet Earth.

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Introduction - Pilot Scheme 1 - Recapitulation - Conclusion

 

Introduction

At the end of a brilliant lecture given by Nobel Prize winner in Economics Professor Sen (Harvard University) at the Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences, I asked Professor Sen: "If world society well being and quality of life could become an international referential, changing the international mindset, would this not serve as a strong incentive to catalyse the blending of all the disconnected roadmaps, action plans and grids together?" Professor Sen said definitely: "Yes, it would." Well, this referential can equally be created and applied at national, city, town, village and rural levels... 

The Third Millennium's top priority is not energy but achieving and sustaining the citizens' well being and quality of life (that includes energy...the perspective is completely different) all over the world. This means that localities (villages, towns, cities), rural areas, regions, countries and continents are all interconnected, each affecting the other either way. So the local (eg. city) citizens' well being and quality of life directly impacts on world well being and quality of life; and vice-versa. 

The finality of any project today should contribute to achieving and sustaining the citizens' well being and quality of life on planet Earth. This won't succeed by concentrating exclusively on one specific issue alone and at a time, like sustainable energy. Likewise, concentrating exclusively on sustainable energy is by no means an efficient way to deal with sustainable energy. Fragmented initiatives (whatever the initiative) or fragmented governance necessarily fail because of oversimplification that only complexifies further. 

In order to achieve and sustain the city citizens' well being and quality of life, the approach must be holistic which automatically improves the efficiency of previously fragmented initiatives, including therefore sustainable energy. The problem is that we can't because of our education.  

We are basically interested in impact. What kind of impact? Achieving and sustaining the citizens’ well being and quality of life in world society, the Third Millennium’s Top Priority. We therefore push things forward with this objective in mind. The problem is that business – just like education, society and technology – is also terribly fragmented and disconnected. This fragmentation is detrimental to business itself and this affects economy. A New Business Model is needed that consists of promoting a given project together with other similar, complementary and dissimilar projects. To my mind, we must therefore include separate business projects together in an initiative or scheme that encourages cross-business collaboration. One possibility at local level is our Pilot Scheme 1 Project (PS 1) that integrates this New Business Model. 

 

Pilot Scheme 1

The Long Abstract shall be presented during the Energy Day Event (EDE) for an open interactive multistakeholder networking discussion.

Our Pilot Scheme 1 Project “Achieving and sustaining city society well being and quality of life with Smart Cities” is a typical holistic multicultural integrated interdisciplinary project where the city is considered as a patient. And the first thing to do with a patient is listening to the patient. So the very first thing to do before undertaking anything in a city is listening and talking to the city citizens, their concerns, hopes, interests, solutions...inviting collective citizen participation. A city society well being and quality of life profile can thus be created. This constant interactive dialogue leads to trust: the citizen becomes more receptive to the unknown and innovative solutions. 

This is much more complicated than it sounds because you first need to define "well being and quality of life" (WBQoL) in such a way that the definition can be implemented in all the villages/towns/cities of a given country. In order to usefully compare the village/town/city society WBQoL profiles, you also need a National Standard Methodology for village/town/city society WBQoL profile assessment. Furthermore, in order to later usefully compare National Society WBQoL (NSWBQoL) Profiles, you need 1) a world definition of WBQoL that can be applied anywhere and 2) a World Standard Methodology for NSWBQoL Profile Assessment. These shall be the deliverables after the World Pre-Summit on WSWBQoL. Then - and only then - can each country proceed to create its village/town/city and therefore NSWBQoL Profiles. 

A village/town/city is a miniature world of its own consisting of a very complex network of tangible and intangible networks that together contribute to affecting the city citizens' well being and quality of life. These must be identified and understood bearing in mind that each network influences all the others and vice-versa. In order to understand how a city works, you need not only to identify and understand each of these networks but also understand how they interact together. We therefore need to explore how these can be best articulated together to achieve and sustain the citizens’ well being and quality of life in their own city. We are suggesting that the different businesses and fields of expertise (space, health/eHealth, energy, services, ICT/Digital Technology, waste, environment, transport, refurbishing/retrofitting buildings, the elderly, food, shelter, education, ...) not only get together but interact and join the Pilot Scheme 1 Project that is in fact embedded in the New Capacity Building Programme (NCBP). 

A virtual model of the chosen town is created that can be modified at will by the addition of different combinations of the above mentioned data. Questions like the following may then be addressed:

bulletWhat shall the town look like with new and renewable technologies?

bulletWhat is the annual town energy consumption? How does it vary throughout the year (from individual households to whole sections of the town)?

bulletHow could this be improved by new and renewable technologies and by refurbishing existing buildings?

bulletWhat would be the economic benefits?

bulletWhat would be the overall benefits for the citizen's wellfare?

After completing a town/village society well-being and quality of life profile that shall in turn inform and educate the citizen regarding PS1, the population shall be invited to attend and discuss the regular virtual model updates of their own town. The final decision to proceed to the practical phase shall be based on a referendum once the theoretical part of PS1 has been finalised.

We have presented PS 1 during EUSEW four consecutive times. In 2015 (EUSEW 2015), a Senior Officer from the European Commission and expert in Smart Cities attended my presentation. He was quite overwhelmed by the complexity of a real holistic Smart City Project and so enthusiastic that he asked for permission to present some of the material for a congress on Smart Cities that was to be held in Slovenia. Indeed, Pilot Scheme 1 shall be undertaken within the NCBP. We hope to organise yet another EDE on Pilot Scheme 1 for EUSEW 2016. Many stakeholders from both EU and Non EU countries are interested. The EDE shall be open to all NCBP National Representations. Regarding Belgium, the city of Liège is interested and I hope some cities in Flanders shall come over. 

There is an explosion of smart city projects worldwide but these horizontal projects are far too superficial dealing with only very limited focussed issues in any given city: there is no profound and deep impact on the city citizens’ well being and quality of life as far as I can see. The situation is a bit like what has happened for the European Union. By concentrating on just economy and disregarding all the other factors that affect the citizens’ welfare, we have the situation we are in now. The EU grew upon many citizens too fast: mindsets were not prepared for such a cultural mix. Simplifying in fact complexifies...

Finally, how are we going to get the municipalities interested in Pilot Scheme 1 including multiple other projects? They need to be informed. Not one after the other, but together. A holistic challenge requires a holistic strategy. I would suggest the National Brainstorming Events. 

I am convinced that a generic methodology could be created to achieve and sustain the citizens’ well being and quality of life in any village/town or city including rural areas by combining our efforts (Pilot Scheme 1) for active collaboration. For any country, this means collective citizen participation, together with the media and government, private and public sector, civil society. Here again, this can be best organised through National Brainstorming Events. 

In other words, there are no specific pilot villages/towns/cities for existing localities. Of course, with experience improvements shall be made for a given region so the first wave of Pilot Scheme 1 villages/towns/cities shall all in a sense be "Pilot" localities. Furthermore, completely new cities in the desert for example could certainly be so named. 

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Since a village/town/city is made up of an intricate network of networks, Pilot Scheme 1 needs to bring together stakeholders from these different networks to both understand how each network basically functions, how these networks act together to create village/town/city life and impact on the citizens' well being and quality of life. If the village/town/city is not going well, there is a need to identify which network (or set of networks) is responsible. This is why there is a need to reproduce the city's network of networks in a model. In other words, this means creating a model of a real city that best reflects all the parameters that can affect city society well being and quality of life, a complex endeavour that means integrating Big Data, IoT and Cloud Computing. Indeed, each village/town/city model could later be interconnected giving rise to a virtual NSWBQoL model that could also help predict or solve national issues, but this may be for tomorrow.  

New Capacity Building Programme (NCBP) National Representations are strongly encouraged to participate in this workshop since each National Representation is responsible for its own PS-1 national organisation, supervision and development. 

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Recapitulation

To recapitulate, we can simply divide Pilot Scheme 1 into two parts. 

Part I

i. Pilot Scheme 1 can only be undertaken after the Pre-Summit on World Society Well Being and Quality of Life that is essential for reaching a world consensus on a WBQoL Definition and on a Standard Methodology for National Society Well Being and Quality of Life Profile Assessment. This requires a New Global Governance Infrastructure.

ii. Pilot Scheme 1 takes place in all the villages/towns/cities/rural areas of each country. 

iii. Village/town/city/rural area society well being and quality of life profiles are created. 

iv. Based on these profiles, we explore what must be done to achieve, improve and sustain the citizens' well being and quality of life in their village/town/city.

v. To avoid unnecessary harassment of the citizens, data mining shall be undertaken during iii. & iv. Data mining = identifying all the tangible and intangible networks including ALL the characteristics of the village/town/city. This is extremely thorough.  

Part II

i.  Integrate all the data in a model that is accessible to the city citizens (but respecting privacy) through interactive software inviting constant feedback from the population in the city. This both empowers the citizen and has high educative value encouraging holistic thinking, creating a collective responsibility/conscience and improving good citizenship. 

ii. Based on the inhabitants' concerns, identify which network (or set of networks) needs attention. Using the virtual model of the real city, we can suggest alternative solutions in direct communication with the citizen and see which fits best.

iii. A real city model means integrating Big Data: pollution, energy efficiency, poverty, refurbishing/retrofitting buildings, short/medium/long term economic benefits, transport, society, isolation, education, governance, politics, urbanism, indoor/outdoor architecture, IC/Digital technology, culture, religion, health, the elderly, ... These are all "networks" (bubbles) that must be fully understood from both an individual and a holistic perspective. We need a very powerful model that can better visualise the dynamic structure of these networks and how they interact.

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NCBP National Representations are responsible for organising Pilot Scheme 1 in all the cities in their respective countries. 

Both National Brainstorming Events and Pilot Scheme 1 have a formidable multicultural interdisciplinary integrating potential. In Belgium, one City that shall attract considerable attention shall be Brussels, the Capital of Europe. The Flemish and French speaking Belgian citizens and institutions working together towards a common objective: Brussels Society Well Being and Quality of Life! This is why creating a city referential of city society well being and quality of life is so important. If this can succeed, this would be a formidable victory. To many, Brussels/Belgium doesn’t have the political maturity to represent the capital of Europe and Belgium’s reputation has been plagued by its chronic and surrealistic politico-linguistic problems. As a City, Brussels would be an example for many to follow. If national society well being and quality of life could become a Belgian referential, changing the Belgian mindset, this would be a strong incentive to finding a permanent solution to Belgium's problems. The country would acquire international respect. This same pattern can be applied to all the villages, towns, cities and countries in the world. 

 

Conclusion

Our EUSEW 2016 EDE devoted to Pilot Scheme 1 shall explore the complexities of a typical holistic multicultural integrated interdisciplinary project and how the multiple networks (like energy) that constitute a city affects the citizens' well being and quality of life. This is nothing less than the constructive interdisciplinary integration of Big Data. 

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Registration for EDE June 2016 is on invitation only. For further information, please write to: vivian.linssen@imnrc.org