A new kind of urban API is necessary for the cuadruple helix of innovation to participate in the development of cities. And this urban API must not only be digital, but also human and physical. During the fall of 2019 I was interviewed on several occasions by Monica Posada (scientific officer at the Digital Economy Unit of the JRC) on the subject of governments APIs (Application Programmin Interfaces). Monica was interested in knowing Zaragoza data ecosystem, its APIs and digital assets.
We talked extensively over the citizen card, our all-in-one key to the city, over “Etopia Center of Arts and Technology” (or, just Etopia) as a true ecosystem where the cuadruple helix of open innovation can meet artists and together make the complexity of the digital city understandable and re-programmable for citizens. Etopia acts as a physical API through which businesses, citizens, research bodies, academic institutions and the very same City Hall can cooperate on new ideas and projects.
We talked about the Open Urban Lab, as a human API where citizens can launch ideas and engage in their solutions through programs such as “100IdeasZGZ” and “Ojo al Dato”. What we want to achieve through these programs is a beatiful idea called collaborative city making. An idea that is rooted in deep urban thinking, but that it is not easy to implement on a day-to-day basis.
And, of course, we talked about the long term bet on quality and highly interoperable open data.
As a result, Zaragoza ecosystem appears in the latest JRC Science For Policy Report: “Application Programming Interfaces in Governments: Why, what and how”.
The report appears on the same week that Etopia’s 600 sqm digital façade started to show a striking visualization of the pulse of the mobility in the city, a joint effort between the city hall (that provided the data of traffic flows), the University of San Jorge – Catedra Maobility Experience (that thouroughly analyzed them and produced the basic web videos), and the artist Néstor Lizalde, that beautifully adapted its content for that huge display that the LED façade is.