How technology will make smart cities more autonomous

2021 will be a very important year for Brazil, marking not only the beginning of new municipal mandates, but the implementation of actions and policies for economic recovery in cities. It is very important that public policies already come with this DNA of resumption, especially in the first 100 days of administration of the new mayors.

From the perspective of smart cities, the strongest trends in this post-pandemic world were presented by one of our main Smart City Session keynotes, on December 8th and 9th, with smart cities expert Renato de Castro. One of these concepts is noteworthy: high tech, the latest technology applied to the citizen.

A contextualization

Living in the city of Rovolon, 5 km from the coronavirus epicenter in Italy, Castro has been assisting the Italian government in the economic recovery for the past ten months. Author of the book “A Cidade StartUp”, CEO of SmartUp, a Barcelona consulting firm specializing in digital transformation for cities, he is a member of the board of directors of Boston’s Leading Cities and an international ambassador for the Rio de Janeiro Operations Center (COR ).

In addition, Castro has more than two decades of experience serving as a global executive in countries in Asia, the Americas and Europe, and has visited more than 30 countries giving speeches and advising governments on urban development projects.


Castro points out that it is undeniable that hypertechnology and the new era of the industrial revolution were driven by the pandemic. What will change (and is already changing) is the direction of global investments in projects that make practical sense in people’s daily lives. An example is the urban delivery market, which is expected to handle up to 44 billion dollars over the next four years.

Whether with new applications and platforms developed – and applied – in the daily lives of the population, to define public transport strategies, peak hours and fleet, or even to optimize services such as garbage collection, paving, definition of new roads in the city. cycle network, complaints and suggestions, the range of possibilities that are already being applied by city halls is vast.

A more developed city with more citizen engagement ends up becoming more autonomous from regional, state and national governments

Technology helps to expand the concept of “city-states”, as many public policies only make sense if thought of locally, as well as strategies for the sustainable development of cities.

Smart City Session

Within the theme of the “Legacy of Pandemia”, the Smart City Session brought together experts to address issues such as the mobility paradigm, new priorities, public policies and solutions for future urban mobility; disruptions derived from Covid-19; and the future of digital transformation and the challenges of urban infrastructure in a context of connectivity.

We live, work and play in the urban environment

Furthermore, from the perspective of happy cities, they play an essential role in our lives: we live, work and play in the urban environment. Whether passing through or residing, large or small, cities become our natural environment. It is essential to take this into account in the process of transforming and building smart cities, so that it translates into a sense of belonging, harmony, interaction and experiences of social, cultural and economic well-being.

Cities have a fundamental role in our lives, even though it is a challenge to make urban environments more inclusive, democratic and full of diversity. These trends will shape both the cities that are about to be redesigned and our economy. We all need to understand and strive to increasingly build the smart cities we want to live in.


Beto Marcelino, biweekly columnist of TecMundo, is an agronomist, founding partner and director of government relations at iCities, the company that organizes the Smart City Expo Curitiba, the largest event in Brazil on smart cities with the seal of FIRA Barcelona.

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