On the 20th October 2022 CPTED-UK took part in the third demonstration event of the S4AllCities. The event was hosted by the Basque Police (Ertzaintza). It allowed the project partners to share the innovations of the S4AllCities system and of its components individually. The platform was demonstrated and tested in a real operational environment. CPTED-UK and other project advisors have provided feedback to fine-tune the solutions.
As the Police of the Basque Country, the Ertzainza is aware it must adapt to respond to the evolving needs of the society. Taking into consideration that Bilbao is the most important city in the Basque Country, S4AlllCities as another step in the search for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and transversal response to the new challenges that technological evolution and citizenship require. Participation in and collaboration with top institutions, companies and organisations in their fields, is a necessity and an obligation to advance and be efficient throughout the country, with Bilbao being the reference and propagation point for what has been learned and experienced.
S4AllCities was therefore another milestone in Bilbao’s commitment to innovation and the uptake of digital solutions to improve the quality of life and security of its citizens.
Bilbao has a longstanding record of participation in innovation projects, for instance, it was one of the 50 city finalists in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge Award, with a project that tackled the vulnerability of free WiFi networks to malicious software and cyberattacks for residents, by proposing a new municipal capacity that identified and blocked online threats, alerted citizens of risks, and educated the public on cybersecurity. S4AllCities has been helpful in identifying areas of improvement regarding the city soft targets and critical infrastructure, allowing to integrate and test innovative tools that will be useful for the city in the future.
The Bilbao pilot scenario took place a few days prior to the ‘Aste Negusia’ (eng. Big Week)- the main festival of the Bilbao celebrated annually in the late August. The event that starts the Big Week is known a the ‘txupinazo’ and consists of shooting a skyrocket from the central balcony of the Arriaga Theatre. This event brings together thousands of people who cram the surroundings of the Arriaga Theatre, including the Arenal bridge and the banks of the Arenal Promenade.
On the next day after the last demonstration the project team have gathered at one of Bilbao’s fines venues- Azkuna Zentroa– previously a warehouse for wine, oil and pickling, currently a culture, arts and leisure centre.
The day summarized all the project work to date which was a reminder of the previous Pilots in Pilsen and Trikala.
The project co-ordinators have facilitated a debate about the significance of the S4AllCities to security and resilience of smart cities. Many thought-provoking conversations took place, many ideas were shared, business cards exchanged, and valuable feedback delivered.
In spare time CPTED-UK have explored the Basque Country- we particularly enjoyed the pintxos in San Sebastian, the gourmet capital of Spain, more pintxos in the Bay of Biscay fishing town Lekeitio, and a glass of La Rioja at one of the tavernas in the charming micro-town Ea with its population of 865 people.