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City Lights: Gunnar Edwin Crawford, Head of Stavanger Smart City

SmartCitiesWorld talks to Gunnar Edwin Crawford about his role as head of Stavanger Smart City, Stavanger kommune.

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Crawford says the smart city office has changed the way Stavanger works
Crawford says the smart city office has changed the way Stavanger works

Gunnar Edwin Crawford has been in his role since September 2017, working on public-private cooperation, citizen involvement and testing and implementing new technology in Stavanger, Norway’s third largest city. He is also co-author of the book, Creating Disruptive Ecosystems.

 

SCW: What is the main purpose of your role?
GC:
I’m head of Smart City Stavanger, leading the Smart City office and its team working across the domains of the city and municipality of Stavanger.

 

SCW: What does the term smart city’ mean to you?
GC: A city that is good to live and work in.

 

SCW: What are some of the key milestones/initiatives in your smart city journey so far?
GC: Our change of focus from infrastructure and technology to citizen involvement and co-creation. From hard to soft.

 

SCW: What is your number one priority right now?
GC: Making sure that city infrastructure, with everything from sensor networks (LoRaWAN), OpenData (opencom.no) and the city data lake, is made available in a manner that doesn’t inhibit innovation, especially innovation together with private sector and academia.

 

SCW: What do you see as your biggest achievement since you started the role?
GC: The smart city office has changed the way the city works and addresses its challenges. We developed and introduced our co-creation school to help enable our colleagues to work closer with our citizens. Empowering them with the necessary tools and processes. This has since been scaled up through a cooperative with the University of Stavanger. Not to forget our recent national awards “Smart city solution of the year” for our work on open data, and becoming “Norway’s smartest city” in August.

 

SCW: What is the best part of the job?
GC: Chasing down new opportunities, and solving “old problems” with new skills. Most of our challenges can be solved by adding new people with different backgrounds and new skillsets to the mix.

 

SCW: What is your biggest challenge?
GC: That there are too many challenges and opportunities: prioritisation is hard, especially when our politicians want to use the smart city approach to solve everything.

 

SCW: If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
GC: Working with innovation and smart city service development in the private sector.

 

SCW: What keeps you awake at night?
GC: Fear of not being relevant to our citizens and politicians.

 

SCW: If you could make one change in your city tomorrow and money was no object, what would you do?
GC: Better, and preferably, free mobility services to bring down the use of private cars.

 

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