More than two thirds of the European population lives in urban areas. Cities and municipalities are an encouraging environment for education, science, technology, culture and innovations, entrepreneurship, etc. They are the environment where problems occur and where they are solved.
Population growth in urban areas causes an accumulation of problems related to sustainable development, unemployment, poverty, infrastructure, transport, living, water resources, energy, public services, etc., which require a fundamental change so that threats can be turned into positive challenges. Slovenia has to learn to better understand the challenges that we are facing. Our city and urban centres are small to medium-sized on the European scale, however smaller urban centres also have more competitive advantages that we need to recognise and use.
Today, the answer to all these questions is provided by the concept of the smart city with emphasised strategic roles for a comprehensive refurbishment of cities, which will consider their diversity, development paths, size, the demographic and social framework, cultural and economic advantages through inclusion and connections at all levels, where citizens, who are the focus of all processes, will be at the centre of decision-making.
Smart cities are the main topic of discussion on the cities of the future. We do not have to travel far. Vienna, which was chosen as the friendliest and most liveable city, Graz and the slightly more remote Köln, Berlin, Amsterdam, Kopenhagen and numerous other cities, which offer amazing solutions, have developed an extensive strategy of smart cities.
We are all aware that we are facing a turning point. When generating conditions and a favourable environment for the expansion of smart cities and communities, a significant role is played by in-depth understanding, new knowledge and experience with successful exchange between policy makers at all management levels, including bold individuals, visionaries who dare think about new breakthroughs.
As the first and only faculty in Slovenia, DOBA Business School developed the interdisciplinary master’s programme in Management of Smart Cities. The programme aims at empowering decision-makers, project managers and product and solution developers for smart cities for comprehensive tackling of challenges in urban areas and beyond.