Circular and smart cities


Circular cities are a prerequisite for the development of the circular economy. This was the concept presented by Enel at Brains Day 2018, the annual event for the community of authors and readers of the “Gli Stati Generali” (“The Estates General,” an alternative journalism discussion group) digital platform. Taking part was Luca Meini, Enel’s Head of Circular Economy.   

Two key questions dominated this year’s proceedings, which took place at the Centrale dell’Acqua in Milan on 29 November, namely: (1) What is the circular economy? And (2) Why is this economic model now so important for companies and such a significant factor when it comes to the future of Italy and Italian cities?  

Enel’s contribution focussed on a recently developed position paper with the title “Cities of tomorrow. Circular cities.” The document examines how new technology has had such a profound impact on the urban environment, transforming it into an important framework for sustainable development. Increasingly high levels of resources are being brought to bear – managing information through sensors, cloud computing, and ultrawide fixed and mobile networks as well as API (Application Programme Interface) marketplaces, the Internet of Things, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.  

Meini explained that “cities are now the most problematic areas, where competitiveness, quality of life, sustainability and social inclusion are increasingly critical. The vision of the circular city is emerging because it offers the only real prospect of overcoming this challenge, by placing new technology at the service of a different development model emphasising participation and inclusion.”

Enel is not only contributing to generating energy from renewable sources and the promotion of energy efficiency, it is also developing integrated, added-value e-mobility services and smart infrastructure (smart grids, smart lighting, fibre optic technology).

We are also involved in an extensive urban regeneration programme to repurpose Italian power plants that are no longer in operation and in the transition of the production sector with the Circular Procurement project.

This is because the future of our cities depends on the circular economy.