“The basis of a smart city is not technology, but people and their interests,” said Ekaterina Sokolova, Academic Director of the Master in Smart City Management program at the Graduate School of Management at St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU), Associate Professor of Public Administration. In her speech on May 26 at the First All-Russian Forum "Happy Cities", she noted that a smart city is a combination of traditional urban infrastructure (water, gas, schools, clinics), the smart technologies that allow this infrastructure to be managed, and data that helps them to understand what, when and for whom things should be done, as well as citizens and businesses, whose interests should be taken into account in the implementation of any urban project. Only competent specialists can help this system to work harmoniously.
Speaking about the competencies of such specialists - alumni of the Smart City Management program, the speaker emphasized that a specialist in the field of a smart city should:
- know the elements of the city system;
- be able to determine the causal relationships of urban problems;
- be able to set SMART goals for urban change;
- be able to identify a set of indicators that determine the achievement of a goal;
- be able to find and evaluate alternative ways to achieve the set goals;
- be able to form an action plan for the implementation of the chosen alternative;
- have soft skills.
Ekaterina Sokolova noted: “We have developed our program in such a way as to form a systematic view of the city in students, teach them to see the essence of the problem, its solution, what intermediate tasks will stand out on the way to the goal, how to assess the effectiveness of the chosen trajectory and the consequences of transformations. So that in the end they become good analysts." “The demand for specialists capable of comprehensively analyzing the urban environment and making informed decisions is enormous. We teach our students to understand the city as a single organism. Good managers can make them happy using tools such as, for example, data science", — she said. “A smart city is not only about technologies, smart shops and traffic lights,” the expert summed up.
The Happy Cities Forum was held on May 26 and 27. Its goal is to attract business development leaders, public activists and government officials to the topic of creating an environment for a comfortable and happy life for citizens. The discussions were attended by heads of city administrations, representatives of the academic community, psychologists, book authors and editors.