Lauri Sokk – TARTU: SMART CITY SINCE 1632

Lauri Sokk finds that the smart city concept is a way of thinking. It's not a big goal you have to achieve but rather a changed way to think of a city. He says that the city is built for ourselves and not for becoming a big expo.
One of the first modern time examples of Smart City in Tartu was mobile parking. It was created because people had issues walking in the cold to get their parking tickets from the machines. From then on many other novice solutions have been implemented to make the city life better: participative budget, new public transportation system plan in collaboration with the citizens, launching a bicycle circulation project, renovating old soviet-time buildings and changing the cultural scene. Now is Tartu aiming to become European Capital of Culture in 2024. “Tartu aims to stay true to itself while also being a part of wider global and economic cultural space,“ says Sokk.

When people were asked to name three things they would never lose from Tartu, the small distance both geographically and in human relationships, green living environment and diverse cultural scene were brought out. Three things people wanted to change immediately were lack of connections with the outside world, need for an increase in high-level jobs and a balanced city development, since right now it’s mainly focused on the city centre.

Tartu is already a smart city in Lauri’s opinion but in ten years time, he hopes that other people understand this and all the projects Tartu is working on as well. “Language of smartness is a tool for achieving mutually agreed goals,” says Lauri and adds that an enhance in communication would definitely benefit every smart city project.