Cities are not about tech, they are about people

At the end of last month, Airbnb participated in an event held in Prague to discuss the benefits of the sharing economy to the Central and East European (CEE) region. Hosted in partnership with the Czech non-profit organization reSITE, the event included a panel discussion by tech innovators and startup founders about the future of technology in cities seeking to improve the quality of life.

This was already the second evening salon from the “My City / Your City” series, which kicked off with a successful event in Berlin in December 2017. Speaking in Prague, Airbnb’s Public Policy Manager for EMEA Sofia Gkiousou explained how home sharing has opened new economic opportunities for local families and their communities around the world, while transforming the way people experience cities. The growth of sharing economy as well as the rising trend of co-living and co-working in all major cities globally confirms the need for people to connect with each other. As resources and space are becoming more limited, sharing is also fundamental to our lives from an environmental and social perspective.

Three other innovators from the mobility, quality of life and startups scene explored how the sharing economy can help cities across the region to empower locals and use existing resources more efficiently. Rui Coelho, Head of Invest Lisboa agency joined from Portugal to speak from the perspective of a city policy attracting tech innovations. Szilvia Walter, Co-founder of EVA – Extended Visual Assistant, one of Europe’s Top 50 startups – came from Budapest. Martin Pejša, Founder of Creative Dock, represented the local startup scene in the Czech Republic.

All panelists agreed that it is important to continue to push for the change we believe will make our cities better – which is particularly important as regulations often do not keep pace with technological advancements and innovations. The debate with the audience, comprising more than 150 diverse attendees, also emphasised that the future of cities should not be exclusively about tech; instead the focus should be on people, community feedback and policy that is in tune with the voices of citizens across the CEE region and beyond.

Want to know more? Read a comprehensive synopsis prepared by World Architecture.


Images: Tomáš Princ | reSITE

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