Yesterday Barcelona won the 2014 Bloomberg Mayors’ Challenge — a ideas competition for European cities.
Barcelona’s winning idea was collaborative care networks for older citizens. In Barcelona’s case one in five residents is over 65 and by 2o40 seniors will make up a quarter of the city’s population.
The approach Barcelona’s council has proposed is a combination of high tech and the community working together.
Barcelona will use digital and low-tech strategies to create a network of family members, friends, neighbors, social workers, and volunteers who together make up a “trust network” for each at-risk elderly resident.
Last year I had the opportunity to interview the Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Antoni Vives, on how the city was using the internet of things to improve citizens’ lives.
In that interview Vives spoke on how important was that these technologies improved the lives of all citizens, not just the young and the rich. Today’s prize illustrates how the city is applying that philosophy.
For technologists, one of the tasks ahead is to show how today’s inventions are more than the toys of rich men, but are things that genuinely improve society’s well being.