#INNOCHAT on Smart Cities with Natalia Rincón of Chaos Architects
She is an architect and computer science engineer, and currently working on her doctoral dissertation in Urban Planning at Aalto University. She is also a Business Tampere ambassador, an advisor for foreign talent at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, a deputy councillor in Tampere, and a member in several urban planning committees and boards.
She is a frequent speaker at conferences, about topics of future of smart cities, citizen engagement, artificial intelligence and female entrepreneurship and equality.
What inspired you to create Chaos architects? What sets Chaos architects apart from other Smart City solutions?
People. I have a background in Computer Science and Architecture. So, during my working life I had the opportunity to closely see how difficult it is for a normal citizen to change something in the surroundings of a city. However, as an architect we need to understand how citizens experience the space. After this it occurred to me that a fairer way to make everyone participate in the development of a city was through the use of technology.
What benefits can Smart City technologies and solutions bring to our increasingly urbanised living environments?
One of the biggest pains is that cities as a whole are producing data in different formats from different sources. So, in order to get an understanding of what really is happening in the city, the data needs to be not only coherent, but also analyzed under a single platform that is able to correlate data together. A Smart City that has this kind of platforms would be able to forecast the livability of cities and trace the impact of political decisions.
What are the possible threats with Smart Cities and how can we make sure the data will work to the best of our advantage?
One of the biggest and that has caused a big discussion, is the surveilled city. If the data that we get through IoT technologies and big private companies is misused instead of building a trusted city, we would interfere with the private life of citizens. A way to tackle this is through the creation of laws that protect citizens and their data, just like GDPR currently did, for example.
What are the larger trends in urban planning and how does CHAOS architects tap into them?
CHAOS architects works with four different categories: people, infrastructure, nature/resources, competitiveness. All these encompass big trends like climate change, real estate market, citizen engagement, and transport, to name a few. By measuring indicators under these categories, we can determine which are the best choices when building infrastructure in a city. Tracing the impact of these decisions, we hope to achieve much more sustainable cities.
In addition to being an entrepreneur, you have a background in architecture as well as computer science. What are the most valuable lessons you have learned throughout your career?
I think its realizing that you will know when you find your passion. In my case my studies support my career choice right now (as an entrepreneur), however, thinking that we build something that will create a positive impact in the world drives me every morning. What I’m mean is, as long as you do things with your heart and put passion into them you can’t fail.
Finally, what advice would you give to girls and young women who want to be entrepreneurs but are hesitant to take the first step?
Research has shown that startups lead by women perform better, this is good in a sense that young girls are able to find role models which encourage them to take a leap in whatever they want to accomplish. In addition, this provides information to men and women in order to make a paradigm shift. Nowadays men are taking an active role at home, which means that women can take a stronger role in their careers, for example. Lastly, I believe that an entrepreneur needs to have these characteristics: passion, drive, and kindness. If you feel you have these qualities then you have the obligation to follow your dream.