Earlier this week:
I had the oppotunity to attend HTHIC Conference in Pori, Finland.
The main themes of the conference was Heritage and Tourism. We had interesting presentations and keynote speakers in HTHIC sessions – a great learning experience for all of us. The one topic and presentation which is imprinted still in my retina was about introducing intelligent concepts and designs to cities. This also is closely related with sustainability and heritage. The presentator Markku Wilenius gave us an inspiring speech and presentation about Turku and how it can be transformed into a more intelligent city. Intelligent city can mean: more space for meetings and people to enjoy the livelyhood of a city centre. It means taking away the cars, planning the centres in the most logical ways, more room for parks and other places which makes people and visitors feel good – promoting better health and more inspiring for visitors to come.
The idea of an intelligent city might seem too futuristic at the moment, but I believe that would be the right way to go. Investing more to design the cities in a new, more personal and more active way is a great way to promote tourism and travel while keeping the cultural heritage still rich in the cities. In Markku’s presentation the city’s center opens up to be a meeting and trading place to host more events and interesting activities. The citycenters would create a positive area where locals and visitors can meet up and enjoy the beautiful architecture and city planning where the services are close. Currently, our cities in Finland suffer from perishing city centers where cars are the most able transport and there is not much open areas. This awakens the question why we should open our existing and narrow citycentres into a lively place where visitors like to spend time and the locals would succeed with their businesses?
The answer is very simple: Why not? It will benefit every stakeholder and business in the city as it promotes healthier life choices (cycling) and increases local businesses. And that’s only a few reasons of many.