About Cities and How they Influence us
Next Visions Podcast Episode 2: Itai Palti & Kristina Palovicova
The architect and conscious-city pioneer Itai Palti and the founder of Secret City Trails Kristina Palovicova give people a new perspective on urban spaces. In the second episode of the Next Visions Podcast by Porsche and the House of Beautiful Business, they talk about a sense of belonging and why curiosity is crucial for people living in cities.
Today, 55% of the world population lives in cities — and the trend is still rising. This steady growth will fundamentally change how we design and construct urban spaces. And it makes it even more important to create cities where people feel safe, comfortable and joyful.
Two careers that revolve around exploration
Our guests in this episode of the Next Visions podcast know that cities are more than just an arrangement of streets, buildings, and parks. Cities are defined by the people who live in them and about the experiences they make every day.
Architect Itai Palti and startup founder Kristina Palvicova have both chosen careers that revolve around urban space. During their stay at the House of Beautiful Business in Lisbon, they met for the first time to talk about modern cities and how they influence us every day. Two thought leaders of today discussing the topics of tomorrow — this is the idea of the Next Vision podcast.
Itai: Striving to create spaces that are good for our well-being
As a practicing architect and researcher, Itai draws his ideas from behavioral sciences and digital data to create conscious future spaces. He is the founder and director of Hume, a science-informed architecture and urban design practice. Additionally, he holds thought leadership roles in institutions including Harvard, Brookings, and the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture.
„We have distanced ourselves from creating spaces that are good for us“ — Itai Palti
In 2015, Itai founded the Conscious Cities movement, a new field of research and practice for building human-centered urban environments by using architecture, neuroscience, and data. To describe his vision, he has written the “A Manifesto for Conscious Cities”, published in The Guardian (2015).
The basic idea: The design of cities should make people feel content and give them a sense of belonging: With public places and parks where people come together, where they feel welcome and comfortable, thus strengthening social cohesion and reducing loneliness.
Kristina: Reconnecting locals with their cities through the power of exploration
Itai and Kristina are connected through the idea to make our environment more enjoyable by using new technologies and resources. Whereas Itai plans and designs spaces, Kristina aims to give people a connection to the past and present of a city.
The former professional skier is driven by her passion for curiosity and travel, which is why she co-founded Secret City Trails in 2017. Now she lives in Lisbon running Secret City Trails and is a board member of the Tourism Board of the Slovak Embassy in Portugal.
„We feel like as adults, we forgot how to play games and to go out and enjoy being in that moment“ — Kristina Palovicova
Kristina and her team have worked with locals to create digital gamified walks and city tours that show you hidden gems off the beaten path. This does not only enrich tourist trips but even lets long-time residents explore new spots and secret treasures of their city and create a sense of belonging. With the games that are available in more than 50 cities, the founder hopes to give people a creative, enjoyable and fun alternative to explore their own city.
Improving urban life
Kristina and Itai are both frequent travelers as they find out during their talk. Exploring a city by foot and observing how different people behave in each city leads both of them to a discussion on urban planning and eventually into speculating how cities could look like in the future. Many metropolises around the world plan to be more human-friendly and sustainable. One of the most ambitious and famous projects is the so-called superblocks concept in Barcelona.
Nine house blocks will form one superblock, in which pedestrians and cyclists have priority. Cars and public transport will be only allowed on the roads that surround the superblock. The desired effect: people meet on the street, communicate with each other and mingle. The air quality will increase, while noise decreases. Less stress, more social proximity. Exactly how Itai and Kristina envision modern cities.
Listen to their full conversation about neuroscience, city planning, and their projects for thoughtful cities in our Next Visions podcast. The podcast is available on all common podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Deezer. The next episode will be online on Wednesday, May 6 and features Florian Schmitt and John C. Havens on the topic of ethics in AI. Stay tuned!
We also recommend checking out the first episode of our podcast, a conversation between former Galatasaray Managing Director Ebru Koksal and London Business School Professor Herminia Ibarra, who talk about radical career decisions and leadership in times of disruption!