Word of the President

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“Political life begins in the city. Recovering the Greek etymology of the word, we remember that “politikos” refers to the administration of the polis, the near living space. In the case of Ancient Greece, this was a mandatory case, as Greece was formed by autonomous city-states. It would take another two millennia until the emergence of nation-states, but the Greek example remains current, and has its relevance confirmed by the challenges of our generation. Paraphrasing Tolstoy: “If you want to be universal, start by painting your own village”.

And, in fact, we never speak of cities in such a passionate way. It could be a paradox, after all, this occurs at a time when network connectivity brings the whole globe to the sphere of the immediate, and the planet insinuates itself as a great community without frontiers. But the fact is that, despite the word having the power of free travel, the body follows geolocation and complains if the environment is unsuitable for survival.

We have reached a decisive point in the way we organize ourselves in the public space. The problems of mobility, sanitation, sustainability and leisure in cities are of concern to us, but they make it evident to the entire population that these issues era fundamental to the quality of life. And in the process of building political consensus, awareness is the key step.

In the midst of the current crisis of the Brazilian political system, many are questioning ways to increase and qualify citizen participation in the country’s future. After all, it is clear that the blind delivery of decisions to any particular group of people results in meeting smaller interests that have little or no effect on collective needs. I dare to rehearse the beginning of a response: experience teaches us that the best participation has its genesis in community life, where people living the problem commonly apply human ingenuity to practical, quick and cheap solutions.

Over the last few years, I have been following several exemplary initiatives in urban solutions. The group of idealizers is widely assorted: from CEOs and highly qualified researchers, to community leaders. This shows that creativity and innovation is not the privilege of any class or group, but a national patrimony that needs to be better utilized.

SCBA has the mission of bringing together the ecosystem around smart cities solutions, promoting qualified information, network and solutions that I am sure will transform our cities.

* Leopoldo de Albuquerque is the president of Smart City Business América Institute