Back in April, the Brazilian magazine Construir Nordeste interviewed Steve Lewis, the British founder of Living PlanIT, a technology company that helps create smart cities. Part of the interview (PT), which I’ve translated below, focuses on Recife. At the bottom, Steve mentions possible projects in Pernambuco, which coincidentally were just announced in London, where Eduardo Campos is, a few days ago (“Convida and Living PlanIT Announce Strategic Alliance collaboration in $36 billion Suape investment Pernambuco”).
CN – You already visited Brazil a few times, including Recife. What’s your impression of the city and how do you see this process of turning it into a smart city?
SL – There are areas of the city that are really beautiful. There’s a lot of historical context. The coastline and the natural resources also are incredibly useful, in addition to the Suape port. There’s a diversity of economic and social activities in the city, more so than in other non-port cities, like London. So you have tourism, activities in economic distribution via exportation, mining and materials, you have commercial activities and you have a new digital cluster. In such a scenario, I believe that there’s opportunities for more development and, if acted upon quickly, I think there will also be an immediate improvement in quality of life. Some areas have to be addressed. I’d focus initially on improvements in safety and the flux of transit. I think the river that cuts through Recife also has to be included. I think that it’ll open up a series of opportunities. But the most important thing for developing the infrastructure is the possibility of incorporating new technologies in these services and doing it quickly. If, in the next ten years, development of Recife and the surrounding cities were guided by intelligent legislation and visionary public policies, which includes community collaboration, I think Recife will be a shining example in relation to innovation capable of showing the world the road to becoming smart.
CN – And you’ve recently got together with the governor Eduardo Campos. Does this mean your company will have projects in Pernambuco?
SL – Yes, we are committed to projects in Recife, both on the municipal level and the State level. What I can say at the moment is that the projects are in two areas of large interest to us. One of them is about sensors and advanced controls. The other is about research and urban development, that should be developed in Recife as long as we can find an adequate environment. My instincts tell me we will. We had meetings at CESAR, and also with leaders of civil societies, politics and business people, and there’s room for exciting collaborations. However, to respond briefly to your question, I suspect that in a month or two I’ll be making some announcements related to our committments in Pernambuco.