A growing number of city innovations spring from the motivation of the residents themselves and challenges that the city-dwellers first face and then solve on their own.
Local knowledge is a key factor in the birth of new ideas. People in the same area experience the same conditions, and organising joint activities to mesh with daily life is easier when everyone lives close by.
Fiksu Kalasatama in the Finnish capital Helsinki is a blueprint for a smart city that generates innovations with the potential to spread elsewhere as well. Residents also create innovations, such as the active seniors who had a house built to their specifications with gorgeous common rooms, where they share a meal every day.
In Kalasatama, Yhteismaa, a community specialising in social innovations, is testing how a map-based social media – Nappi Naapuri – could work as a place for residents to start up and crowdfund their own projects, such as an urban farm, a children’s event or a communal rowboat. With the appropriate tools, organising things is easy.
A venue booking service is also in the works in Kalasatama, which will offer, already during this year, venues in the Teurastamo food district, the Suvilahti cultural centre, Kalasatama school and youth services centre, as well as recreation rooms and saunas in residential buildings. Easy access to facilities makes its simpler to organise communal activities.
Shared facilities also result in encounters between people. Residents of Kalasatama say that they greet one another because they all take the same route to the metro and everyone’s faces become familiar. Somewhat by accident they have created a modern village thoroughfare. In addition to good services, the smart city enables, not only a do-it-yourself mindset, but also a do-it-together mentality.