To Hila Oren, a city is a living organism that must be comfortable for its residents. That is why we should look at cities 20 years from now. With this perspective, she argues that nothing should be taken for granted as cities will change in a way people cannot imagine today. According to Hila, it is essential to have an open mind towards change, and be aware that citizens are city makers. However, cities still have challenges which need to be tackled. And communication and public-private partnerships can be the way to find effective results.
Residents inspire the city they live in. How can then a city improve this inspiration? Looking and listening to its own people. This is why the city of Tel Aviv has focused on listening to its residents in order to be a successfully smart city.
About the authors
Dr. Hila Oren is a city maker with a deep passion for urbanism and a vast experience in city making, marketing and branding. Prior to the Tel Aviv Foundation, Dr. Oren was the CEO and founder of Tel Aviv Global, an initiative started by the Mayor's Office of Tel Aviv-Yafo, dedicated to elevating the city’s brand and global positioning. In 2010, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality undertook a municipal-national initiative designed to position Tel Aviv as a global city – a leading international business center that specializes in innovation. During her term, the Startup City vision was formed: a municipal strategic plan for investors, entrepreneurs, tourists and students, connecting city platforms with private initiatives. As a result, Tel Aviv-Yafo was awarded the title 'Best Smart City in the World' in 2014.
Dr. Oren is a board member of the Haifa Port, where she serves on the Executive Committee of Future Mobility and is a member of the Board of Directors of Amidar, the Daniel Rowing Center, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Academic College and the Advisory Board of the Charney Forum for New Diplomacy. Dr. Oren holds a BA and an MBA from The Tel Aviv University, certificate from the Leadership program at the Harvard Kennedy School and a PhD from the Department of Geography at The Haifa University, where she wrote her thesis about the global branding of Tel Aviv.