2016 Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Study Tour

Fifteen city delegates from all over Europe have participated to a successful study tour organised by the Municipality of Tel Aviv for the members of Major Cities of Europe, from September 25 to 28, 2016,

These are some quotes of the feedbacks received:

“From my perspective the study tour was very valuable und very well organized. Thank you and the team in Tel Aviv again for all the effort and thoughts you put into it! Especially valuable was the first-hand experience and discussions with the responsible and acting players in Tel Aviv. It was quite impressive to see how proactive and focused digitalization, smart city initiatives and especially also involvement of the citizens are done. Also, the dedicated support for and the involvement of start-ups is impressive. In general, I found the format very useful. It gives you time to dig a little deeper and have good discussions. It is a great opportunity for networking. Due to the smaller group, it provides much more insights than a bigger conference can do.”

“The idea of the study tour seems very useful because it allows to see in action what is normally only told in a presentation in event like conferences and workshops. Talking directly with the practitioners, you can touch and evaluate the resources involved, the methodologies used and the difficulties encountered such as actual results that are achieved. At the same time, during a study tour, you can see solutions that can be considered useful also for your own environment and allows you to better understand the actual replicability of an experiences made elsewhere. “

“I felt in a very clear way that the city of Tel Aviv, first, has a clear and strong vision and mission, a “message” to communicate, out and in, of itself. An idea of the city, a concept, an identity. This is the most surprising thing, that make the difference with other cities I know. Starting from the payoff (non-stop city), the logos, the style of all the meeting, “everybody”, from the mayor to the last employee we met shares the same concept of the city and wants to communicate it to the people: a city dynamic, open, young, tolerant, progressive, technologically oriented. It was surprising how all the people we met (more than 15) communicated to us the same message and the same style. I think that this is a “smart” component of a smart city, maybe the most important. There is no smart city without a smart identity of government and of the citizens. The other thing I felt is a “compact governance” of the administration, about ITC and smart projects. I saw a “team” well organized (starting from the CEO). I think that the “governance” issue is one of the most important to understand in “smart cities” we analyse.”

“I found the experience very interesting, well organized and managed both before the event and during our staying in Tel Aviv. What I bring home? First, a different point of view regarding the importance of the start-ups environment in the future of the cities. The situation I feel in my city is quite different, so far. There are many initiatives aimed to support start-ups, but the local administration and its services are distant, playing different markets. In Tel Aviv, the sensation is the opposite. Second, I bring home the idea that it is possible to produce a strict control of the territory without filling the streets with police. The technology can change the way citizen and tourists feel the city. Third, the city of Tel Aviv is probably not smartest overall than many Italian city, but it’s very digital oriented, open to the digital transformation. Every actor we met there was clary committed with this idea.”

“It was a full success. I could recognize the idea and the realisation about “Smart City” primarily in Tel Aviv. There is a big difference in thinking between Israel and Germany what e-government should be. I have learned a lot and I cannot imagine that it would have been possible to communicate this with two or three speeches at a conference. To meet the start-ups was important too, because they are a relevant element of the concept. The Jerusalem session was excellent too, with good discussions and Q&A.”

“My overall impression of the study tour is very positive and I think that this is a valuable format of learning and exchanging experiences for number of different reasons. First, it is always much better to see in place thing that we usually only talk or listen about. To see how things are being done in the real environment and to meet and talk to people responsible for working on that project or activity is usually completely different than to here presentation from some officials at the conference. To be able to discuss about details of the project or activity with people directly involved in their implementation gives you opportunity to understand deeper and better. Another very important thing about the study tour was the time that we spent together as a group, having enough time to discuss things not just with our hosts but also among each other. So, in general I think it is a good idea and a practice that should continue.“