The fourth edition of Urban Talks conference took place on 10th of May, at POINT Hub in Bucharest, following an innovative partnership between UrbanizeHub Romania, the World Bank and the Dutch Embassy.
On 11th and 12th of May, at Mindspace Pipera, the event continued with an Urban Innovation Hackathon: 5 mixed teams of architects and programmers looked for solutions for the urban problems that were identified at the conference: with a special focus on the urban mobility problem.
During this conference, 3 strategic reports were launched: Metropolitan Romania, Guide for foreign investments and Guide of Good Practices in Urban Development in Romania. Also, the World Bank partners presented the results of their campaign, the biggest consultation project from Romania , in which over 100,000 people voted for the projects that they considered most important in the cities they live in.
The conference ended with two panels of local government’s representatives: the first was focused on cities, such as, Galați or Sinaia and on the measures they can take, in order to develop economically, culturally and socially; while the final panel brought together the leaders of the metropolitan areas: from Oradea, Constanța and Brașov, three of the major cities in Romania, which pointed out Romania’s needs of developing at the metropolitan level and also the long-term vision regarding infrastructure and investments for metropolitan areas.
The second and third day was the contest for urban solutions, 25 participants in 5 groups and 10 mentors. The projects from the Urban Innovation Hackathon were divided into two categories: new solutions and existing solutions. All of them had to address the issue of urban mobility.
The existing projects that won a prize are:
- Be On Time – an app that offers data analytics to the local administration directly from the existent situation. It also comes as an integrated solution that brings together various means of transportation, especially public transportation, and offers the possibility of purchasing a ticket through the app and also watching the live location of the vehicles.
- RETGO, an app that uses pre-order and pre-pay as a way to streamline the food & drink service, reducing the queuing time and promoting a longer and more relaxed lunch break for the employees
The new projects that won a prize:
- TIPE, a carpooling project where businesses promote and offer incentives for this type of activity (for example by offering free parking spots or vehicles for work etc). After carpooling becomes more popular, the project proposes introducing special lanes and parking lots for these vehicles.
- The Motioneers, proposes “tactical urbanism” as a solution to improve the pedestrian traffic and routes nearby Aurel Vlaicu/Pipera but also the quality of the public space. The problematic areas can be highlighted by using red balloons for example, which could also bring awareness.
- miriaHUB, comes from miriaPOD, which is basically a pedestrian and bike-friendly bridge that crosses the areas with increased traffic. The project can be financially supported by a community, miriaCOM, that includes people which would be willing to pay a monthly amount of money in order to support a project that ensures a better mobility for their city.