What were the topics of special interest to you at the conference of mayors? Which sessions did you take part in?

I took part in the session called “Living and Sustainable Cities: Embracing the Future through Innovation and Cooperation”. I consider this topic very important. The key questions for the future of a metropolis are sustainability and quality of living. These topics are extremely complex. It is necessary to introduce technological innovations while taking people’s cooperation into consideration. In general, we have to adapt and use our thinking in a way that allows us to achieve our aims.

What ideas did you bring back from the conference?

Astana itself is an interesting example when it comes to urban development. This gave us a lot of study material. At the conference there were ideas, good examples and thoughts presented in the fields of historical heritage preservation, international cooperation as well as smart and sustainable cities, which we would also like to apply in Budapest.

Which areas of cooperation exist between Astana and Budapest?

The city administration intensified the relationship between Budapest and Astana in 2012. The aim was a closer cooperation in the area of city management and culture as well as deepening the economic and trade relationship in order to use the market potentials. Since 2013, Budapest’s City Park has had an “Astana Street”, and a number of high-ranking meetings have been taking place on both sides.

Is Budapest on the way of becoming a “smart” city?

This is a slow process but we have already begun to think about the connection between the city and smart solutions on a strategic level. This means both a circumspect planning as well as the integration of existing “smart” solutions into a system. Those two processes depend on each other. We are already using several smart solutions when it comes to traffic management, waste collection and heating systems. But making this approach generally accepted is at least as important.

Which areas of making the city “smarter” do you consider desirable for Budapest?

Culture and tourism are two areas close to my heart. But when it comes to “smart” solutions, these two might still be little-explored areas. If we only think about it, we can follow the movements of tourists, their needs and their expectations much better with the help of such solutions. On the one hand we can provide better quality services for the tourists, and on the other hand we can reduce the tensions in the city that tourism can create because it will be easier to generate plans for tourism.

What was your impression of Astana?

We were able to see the emblematic sights like the impressive “Bayterek” tower, the Khan Shatyr ("Royal Marquee") and the glass globe that was built on the EXPO area and houses an exhibition about the future of energy. I was happy to see that side by side with the modern trends, tradition has an important role in the Kazakh culture. We visited the National Museum and saw a stunningly spectacular performance in the opera.

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