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The critical role of environmental sustainability and the mobile technology within 21st century cities

The World Health Organization states that the world’s urban population is expected to double by 2050. Such an increase in population along with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic implies a detailed plan on environmental sustainability to achieve a better appraisal of resources while reducing pollution (more than 800k people die every year in Europe as a result of massive pollution according to the European Environment Agency – EEA).

Scientists are actually connecting the exponential growth of viruses and pathogens with environmental degradation).

Smart City technological initiatives are about working plans to enhance sustainable growth and improve the quality of life of the citizens. These new technological approaches designed to avoid emerging problems associated with urbanization require a visible involvement of stakeholders in order to succeed.

There are many official definitions of the Smart City. I really like the one from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2013): ‘We take the particular perspective that cities are systems of systems, and that there are emerging opportunities to introduce digital nervous systems, intelligent responsiveness, and optimization at every level of system integration’.
The European Commission defines the environment as “the combination of elements whose complex interrelationships make up the settings, the surroundings, environment and the conditions of life of the individual and of society, as they are or as they are felt” (Gilpin, 2003).

Moreover, the 2030 Agenda -and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals- constitutes the roadmap for global development in the coming years.

The World Bank or the United Nations Environment Program have had a leading role spreading massive reports on the environment dimension of a healthy economic development. Some of the factors influencing the relationship of urban areas and their economic development along with environmental dimension are explained below:

Technological gap:

Nowadays there is a technological gap between low income groups and the urban elite. This gap is actually reinforcing the disparity of wealth. Smart cities initiatives can provoke inclusion and participation by launching training plans on technology management for city inhabitants while avoiding polarization among the segments of population.

The lack of technological instruction is one of the main reasons of unemployment across European Union and other regions of the world. The access to information is clearly leading to unequal segmentation within societies.

As long as you are not able to get access to quality/essential information instantly on the move through smartphones/apps, you may be considered “poor”. Public administrations should avoid this finally supporting mature technological changes proposed mainly by start-ups.

A crucial dimension of Smart Cities has to do with Smart People: People fed since childhood by e-skills that promote creativity, critical thinking and independence fostering innovation by all means.

Mobile internet has been enormously changing consumer behavior and the way non-digital businesses operate. These ‘digital’ requests and dispatches are bringing great optimization to how people use vehicles in the future. Integrating mobile payments in smartphones is actually speeding up bureaucratic processes within retailers (e-government, tax free operations, etc).

However, this disruptive journey will be hard and long without a clear support of political leaders paying respect to a critical dimension of Smart Cities, that is the Smart Governance which entails public, private and civil organisations so the city may work at its best as one organism fueled by infrastructures, software and data.

Smart Governance is about transparency and open government enabled by apps in terms of citizens’ decision-making and e-public services.

Nowadays, technology companies attempting to break into the retail market are facing setbacks when dealing with regulations inspired in a 20th century political environment. Smart Economy entails e-business processes and e-commerce to boost sustainable growth and productivity.

Smart cities proposal is crucial as long as it is supported by relevant targets in different sectors bringing together goals of a wide variety of stakeholders. Indeed, plan would be as follows: Increasing the smartness of a city enables the smartness of the citizens by boosting connectivity, morale, cooperation, knowledge sharing and, as a result of this, generating efficiency and effectiveness by the optimal use of technologies.

Pollutant emissions:

Antonio Cantalapiedra Asensio

Cofounder & Executive President
of the Board & CEO@ Woonivers

Founder & CEO Woonivers (Fintech/Travel tech startup) – Private Investor – MBA Professor – Serial entrepreneur- Mobility Advisor

Degree in Comunication & Public Relations from Universidad Complutense, MBA ICADE Business School, Master in Law & Political Science (Spanish Presidential Minister, CEPC), Degree in International Relations (Diplomatic School of Spain), AMP- Georgetown University (McDonough School of Business), GAMP – ESADE Business School, Master in Cibersecurity & Machine Learning(ICAI) – on process.

Has given classes and lectures of Marketing/Economics/Entrepreneurship/Mobility in prestigious universities as Endicott College (Boston), IE Business School (Entrepreneurial Lab), ESADE Business School (Barcelona), Harvard University (Boston), ICADE Business School, UCLM University, Antonio de Nebrija University (Madrid), UNED, GBS (Global Business School- Barcelona), UNIR University and EUDE Business School (Madrid) and so on.

He´s also shareholder and Board member of the following startups:

Iomob (Blockchain Mobility)
MadeinMöbile (Internet of Things)
Capaball (Machine Learning for Education)
Balandra Software (Artificial Intelligence)- Gartner cool Vendor
Binfluencer (Machine Learning PR company)

Actually Founder of Woonivers – Travel Tech/Fintech company- VC backed with more than 2M euros seed round –Founded in 2018-Launch February 2019 – with subsidiaries in France, Portugal, UK, Belgium, Italy and HK.

Specialist in International Relations with special focus on e-commerce-ridesharing, carsharing and fintech; author of many releases as Los smartphones como “aceleradores” del proceso de reservas de viajes en China en el Libro Blanco del turismo chino en España: Conocimientos y experiencias (ISBN 978-84-9727-580-5) and “El libro del Comercio Electrónico”, 2017.

Besides, he´s been working for conglomerates as Blackberry (Southern Europe Field Marketing Director based in London) and GfK (London) and also as International Area Director as well for busuu.com (the e-learning languages start-up) based in London.

Antonio is well known lately in Southern Europe as CEO and part of the founding team of mytaxi app (currently Free Now) till July 2017. mytaxi is the first free Taxi App to order and pay via Smartphone. In September 2014, moovel GmbH, subsidiary of Daimler, acquired mytaxi to be part of Daimler AG – Mercedes Benz Group.