“What Ålesund and the region have to offer is completely unique! I have been around many countries and cities, and I have not seen anything like this in terms of competence in the use of simulators”, says Kari Aina Eik to TV 2.
She is the Program Coordinator of the UN Smart City Program, which, through the use of technology, will develop smart and sustainable cities for the future. The Ålesund municipality together with the neighboring municipalities Giske and Sula have taken up in the program as the first city regions in Norway.
“We started with six cities and thought we should help them accelerate. Now we have more than 1000 cities in the network”, explains Eik.
It was almost an enlightenment when Eik became aware of the possibilities of planning and building the cities of the future using simulator technology that has so far been used in the offshore industry.
“This is so good and world-leading here in Alesund, that we have to bring this with us and show it to other cities around the world”,says Eik.
For this, the heavy academic environment around NTNU, SINTEF, Offshore Simulator Center and Rolls Royce at the Norwegian Maritime Competence Center (NMK) at Nørve in Ålesund is at the very heart of the use of simulators.
“The fact that we can use that technology and expertise in new focus areas in public urban development and smart cities gives us incredible opportunities”, says CEO Kaj B. Westre at NMK.
The secret is to collect all sorts of data and make them visible in a simulator.
“The benefit of simulating is that you can make easier decisions. Instead of reading thousands of documents, you can actually see what is effective in terms of making a decision”, explains Eik.
For the residents
Helge Veum, who is the project coordinator for ICT and digitization in the new Ålesund municipality, takes us on a journey into the simulator world to show a very specific example of how technology can be used in urban planning and a sustainable region.
“We have data on where the families with children live and where the kindergartens are. Many people queue between work and kindergarten, we can simulate and show what happens if we are more flexible during the opening hours in the kindergarten, which means that the traffic picture is significantly improved through the center. Such a move can be enough to avoid having to expand roads and thus save a lot of money”, Veum explains to TV 2.
But it's not just about visualization. These are data, technology and the use of sensors that every individual citizen can benefit from in the future.