The configuration of cities and their development has always been closely linked to the history of peoples and of individual destinies.
For centuries, cities have organized themselves around the castles of kings, tsars and emperors which were the centres where power was exercised.
Later, cities have evolved with the development of peoples and political systems (Berlin is one example) or at the whim of politicians wishing to leave a trace in history (Paris is an example).
Cities have often been the playground of egos of leaders, great planners or even more recently architects.
Smart Cities go against the grain. The “beautiful” should not be at the service of fantasy and eccentricity but at the service of efficiency, well-being and harmony. The “city” must focus on the needs of society, people and economic players and must turn their backs on egos.
The Smart Cities should be part of the present and not in the future, at the service of History.
It is not surprising to see Scandinavian Smart Cities differing from South European Smart Cities. All are in the image of their leaders.
In Scandinavia, political leaders are citizens, like others, at the temporary service of the people : the Smart Cities are humble and the development of an infrastructure, supporting the development of a digital economy, is not recent ( see the example of stadnät in Sweden).
In Southern Europe, the infrastructure is often secondary : what is achieved has to be “visible” , “flashy”, “politically exploitable in the short-term”. We need “traces” as were the monuments of the past. Unfortunately, the technology will be without pity: the traces will be fleeting.
But the development of Smart Cities already imposes a particular orientation towards the citizens, their needs, their welfare, their satisfaction and to society in general, its harmony , its sustainability.
Will our political leaders be comfortable in that way in the eyes of History they want to impact so much?