Here's the Key to Cities of Tomorrow!

Here's the Key to Cities of Tomorrow!

In the beginning of July, Demola launched “2020 Demola China Summer Program” in order to provide companies abroad deeper insights about Chinese markets in general. While other nine projects mainly deal with Chinese markets, one project heads towards a different path. Keys to the City, consisting of five members from universities in three different countries, is currently having a special interaction with Tampere, a lovely city in Finland. In the middle of their project, we asked Keyi Yu, a student from University of Cambridge, to give us a look at the project. Let’s figure out their project case, the team’s progress so far as well as their future plan and get a sense of what happens during the Demola project!

Source: Tampere University

1. Could you please briefly describe your project for those who are not familiar with it?
Our project puts forward a ground-breaking vision for cities of tomorrow: how would life without keys be like? Smart Tampere, a smart city government agency, has commissioned us to (1) put forward ideas in what scenarios can access be opened up to its citizens, businesses and tourists; (2) to empower our imaginations by abandoning current legal, technological and ethical constrains in order to paint out a horizon of what can be realized with such a smart access system.
We consequently set ourselves in many scenarios: health, education, tourism, crime and sport. Then, we proactively reached out to current city-dwellers in Tampere, who provided us not only spectacular insights about their experiences in such scenarios, but also their visions within these scenarios. Coupled with our intensive secondary literature reviews and research, we have developed a coherent set of potential usage of such an access system to fundamentally shake-up and improve life experiences of smart cities of the future. Presently (as of August 12th), we are diligently crafting a visual demonstration to share our vision to every attentive citizen who has dreamt about living a futuristic lifestyle!

2. Could you give us a short description about your team members? How would you describe your team dynamicsat the moment? 
My loveliest, brightest, most caring and most adorable teammates are as follows:


The chemistry between our team members is incredible. We are, in fact, more like friends than colleagues as we constantly watch out, care for, understand and support each other. A million thanks to Demola for granting us this amazing experience to work with such amazing people!

3. While other 2020 Demola China Summer Program projects mainly deal with Chinese markets, your team’s project deals with Tampere, a city in Finland. As none of you has ever lived in Tampere, how did your team manage to relate yourselves with the topic of your project in the beginning?
Our team members strive to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, and are united by our intellectual thirst regarding new ideas. We wanted to find out more about the mysterious Finnish way of living and were unafraid of the challenges. In fact, we were later supported by Nancy, our project manager, who kindly introduced us to many of her connections in Tampere whom we had face-to-face interviews with. We have gained a lot of personal insights through the interviews and intensive secondary research. We then benchmarked the findings against different cities in the world, including the ones in China that we are more familiar with, and developed a comprehensive and generalizable report. Nonetheless, the most important reason is that after all, our client is called Smart TAMPERE;)

 Source: Smart Tampere

4. It has already been five weeks since your team has deep dived into the project. What have you achieved together during the last five weeks?
We have fired ideas across the table to fully inspire each other. I particularly recall how, in our second meeting, Converse brought about several case studies in the States while Ruoxi elaborated on Shenzhen’s smart transport, healthcare and education features. I personally brought forward critical thinking tools to organise our thoughts in a coherent manner. We were pleasantly surprised by the synergies we gained by listening to different insights from each other. Furthermore, after the research stage, we also learned from Tingting’s masterful report drafting skills and Rongxin’s impressive software skills in order to put together our final presentation!


Keys to the City Team's online meeting

5. Your team has interviewed lots of different possible stakeholders, especially the residents of Tampere. What are the valuable insights you’ve gained from them?
We have deeply enjoyed talking to inspiring people who pay so much attention to their surroundings. We learned not only how attitudes differ regarding privacy, but also how lifestyles vary. Sauna is a must for every apartment. What an interesting feature that is a part of their daily routines, just like Poker or Mahjong after work for some Chinese or Dim Sum for those living in Guangdong and Hong Kong. Additionally, we opened our eyes to the spectacular variety around the world regarding climate too! From June to December, as every day passes by, daylight hours shorten until winter months, which in fact is depressing; coupled with frequent flurries and snow storms, we realised some cities indeed ‘goes through more’ than other cities. 

6. What is the final result of your project that you are picturing at the moment? How will your team strive to make the imagination a reality?
We are now crafting a final report in an attempt to address multiple scenarios. We want to present a multitude of imaginations about how an open access system can facilitate easier ways of living. Therefore, our final deliverable will be demonstrated in two different parts. Firstly, a report will be given with details of how our open system will work. We will look at the specific scenarios of citizens’ interactions, such as health, sports, residential and work place and propose a smarter system which will lead people to convenient life. To back up each of these scenarios, we will attach primary and secondary data, such as interview scripts of not only citizens in Tampere, but also of those in many world-leading smart cities including those in China! Secondly, we will supplement our report with a demonstration video, which will help everyone comprehend our proposal more easily! We will be adding cartoons to visualise our goal more vividly.

We cannot wait to present our final result and are excited to hear questions and opinions from Demola!

Keyi Yu

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