I want to thank the Chairman of the World Engineering Education Forum Prof. Claudio Borri, all the organizers, the University of Florence and all the participants that will be working in this important event. This is an important occasion for the city of Florence to host many scholars, professors and researchers engaged in a fundamental issue such as the resilient cities, more and more important in the face of challenges posed by the climate change. An important meeting even because focuses the problem from the point of view of training and education with the focus on the future generations and to the possibility of changing the current situation.
I will say a few words on the role of the cities and in particular of the city of Florence on this important issue.
Cities are living organism.
The City is the core of the life of a community: the City has to take care of the community, its services, its growth, its security and safety, its liveability. The City needs to have a city strategy, an umbrella under which rules, plans and actions are link together in a city synergy. The strategy of the city is the vision of the city: an unique puzzle of Initiatives to Help Communities Tackle Local Challenges and Improve City Services. This is the real sense of the smart city: the concentrating of all the best energies on the goal of a sustainable and charitable city, really smart because – thanks to its social networks and innovative drive – it is able to constantly improve even when faced with apparently insurmountable difficulties. This is the concept of “resilience”, namely, the capacity to adapt to change, to overcome the crises by opening up new scenarios. However, the intelligent city is also the city that adapts, in other words it shows it is able to change physical and social structures for the purpose of ensuring the quality of life and the environment, also when faced with major territorial difficulties produced by climate change, the risks of which are amplified by interference with the intense human presence and activity. It is a city that not only adapts, but also changes, by creating new social, economic and environmental answers that allow it to resist in the long term against environmental and historical stress. In this sense, resilience is a necessary component for sustainable and consequently durable development, as it acts in a priority manner on the organisational and management models of the urban systems. Intelligent cities are sustainable and sustainable cities are resilient.
The Florence of tomorrow is a Florence that welcomes opportunities, starting off from the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), approved after the city adhered to the Covenant of Mayors in 2010, which sees a 21% reduction in CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by 2020 and which also looks beyond, with an estimated 40% reduction by 2030. The prospects even reach as far as 2050, with a reduction target of 70%. This is an ambitious project that no-one can guarantee at the moment because we are dealing with a historic city and a city of art in which relevant and significant interventions are not always possible. Nevertheless, we must not give up in advance as we can count on the creative and innovative energy that this territory has always known how to express. In parallel with reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change, the city also needs to strengthen its resilience to the inevitable impacts of climate change, now and for the future. Adapting to climate change is the way to do this. Mitigating climate emissions and adapting infrastructure and policies to climate impacts are both crucial elements in building more sustainable cities. Cities in all around the world needs to become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. We can’t predict the next disruption or catastrophe. But we can control how we respond to these challenges. We can adapt to the shocks and stresses of our world and transform them into opportunities for growth. In the last years, the Administration has pursued a place-based approach to working with communities as they tackle a wide range of challenges, from investing in infrastructure and filling open technology jobs to bolstering community policing. Advances in science and technology have the potential to accelerate these efforts. An emerging community of civic leaders, data scientists, technologists, companies and in general the participation of the beneficiaries are joining forces to build “Smart and Resilient Cities” – communities that are building an infrastructure to continuously improve the collection, aggregation, and use of data to improve the life of their residents – by harnessing the growing data revolution, low-cost sensors, and research collaborations, and doing so securely to protect safety and privacy together with a long life process of information and active participation of the citizens in a bottom-up strategy. The four theory of smart cities (Integration of all sectors, Innovation spread as wide as possible, Involvment of stakeholder in setting targets and Informations in terms of ICT) underlines the needs to create a global teams in the city to face the challenges.
This are the smart cities, this are the resilient cities.
Thanks again for choosing Florence and good work
Major of Florence