In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have a great chat with Andrew Funk, international keynote speaker and Impact Activist for homeless people. Andrew believes that work and active citizenship will end homelessness for and with those willing to participate in the process, which is why he created a model to end homelessness that embraces the concept of Smart Cities becoming even Smarter. In this episode, Andrew and I discuss his background from teaching English through to a digital consultancy, and the very personal story of how he started Homeless Entrepreneur. Andrew tells us about the steps he took to get out of homelessness and why inclusive Smart Communities full of active citizens are so important. He tells us how he sees Spain embracing Smart concepts, and about the projects he’s working on included Homeless Entrepreneur and Afloat. We then discuss the importance of including people who are affected by the problems you’re trying to solve so as to avoid tokenistic approaches, and the three strategic pillars of how to do that: knowledge, recognition and change. We finish our chat talking about the emerging trends of bottom up solutions and citizens taking more of an active role in Smart Cities. As always we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.
What we cover in this episode:
- Andrew’s background from teaching English through to a digital consultancy
- The very personal story of how Andrew started Homeless Entrepreneur
- The steps Andrew took to get out of homelessness and the experience at a UN convention that sparked his interest in Smart Communities
- Andrew’s passion for active working citizenship and why it’s so important in inclusive Smart Communities
- Why inclusiveness is needed (because people are currently being excluded from Smart Cities)
- How Andrew sees Spain embracing Smart Concepts
- Projects Andrew is currently working on, including Homeless Entrepreneur and Afloat
- The need to avoid tokenistic approaches and the power of including people affected by the problems you’re trying to solve
- The three strategic pillars of how to do that: knowledge, recognition and change
- How democratising processes and increasing community engagement can help better integrate across disciplines, industries, governments and community groups
- The emerging trends of bottom up solutions and citizens taking more of an active role in Smart Cities.
“What I’m really passionate about is the mission that we’re working on, which is active working citizenship. It’s how to help people find what they’re passionate about, what they love, and how to make that fit into society so they can make a living off of it and and enjoy what they consider to be their personal and professional goals.”
“Considering the fact that we believe Smart Cities are inclusive, it means that there are people that are being excluded, and policies aren’t helping them be happier citizens. So the Smart City concept for me is extremely important, because it’s probably the most democratic way of making sure that its citizens are heard and the people are focusing on solving problems and not rule following.”
“We believe there are three strategic pillars: knowledge, recognition and change. If people don’t have the right knowledge, they’re never going to be able to recognise how to participate in the change. So as good as your intentions are, if you don’t have the appropriate knowledge, you never going to recognise how you can participate properly.”
“I think Smart Cities [right now] is pretty much just hanging out at the top of those making decisions. But I think there’s a growing interest especially among university students, and probably younger professionals to know what it is and to participate in it.”
Spain’s Smart City Expo
Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community
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The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.