The answer its digital, the only tool capable of escaping isolation. “With social distancing recommended by authorities, with the fight against the virus in full force, we had to reinvent ourselves, and to use technology as a service more than ever” stated the Mayor of Cascais, Carlos Carreira. Tablets, hotspots, apps, online services or webinars are some of the doors that opened so the town could keep on pulsating. If you live in Cascais and you need to contact a town hall executive, for example, you don’t need to go all the way to the Town Hall. It’s actually the last thing you want. Also because, such as in most companies, almost all of its employees are working from home. The solution is to connect to social networks. It’s there that the Mayor is present, many times per week, to answer questions and to make an evaluation of the pandemic crisis. It’s called Digital Democracy and it was created in Facebook to connect the Mayor with its citizens.
And with all of the municipal offices closed, resources where channeled to online and phone support, increasing the capacity of answer in “150% in these platforms”, explains the Mayor. But there are also markets and fairs which where suspended, commercial spaces with reduced capacities and restaurants and hotels closed. It was also to connect business with clients that the Town Hall created an app called “Buy Now, Gain Later”. “The goal is the connect businesses with clients with a simple commitment” explains Carlos Carreiras. That is, those who are downloading vouchers in the app, will later be compensated with discounts offered by commerce, restaurants or hotels. These are bridges that the municipality build in this phase to ensure that, with the return to normality, these two edges will come back together.
In education, technology its’ not very useful if its not reachable for everyone. Priority – stated Carlos Carreiras – was to give away tablets and creating hotspots to connect students with teachers. But it’s health care that is in the center of preoccupations. Cascais was actually the first entity to guarantee the arrival of medical protection equipment from China in the beginning of April and to distribute it in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon. Between other measures, it also opened two testing points – one of them in the Estoril Congress Center – for tests referred by local medical centers. Most of these services are only efficient because they are supported by the digital sphere. “We are a smart city for everyone. And together we know that we will win this invisible enemy” said Carlos Carreira.
But overcoming this challenge it also means being prepared for the time that mobility will be again free of all constrains. And as such, the Cascais Town Hall is reinforcing that it’s still committed with the path towards sustainability, joining as one of the main partners of the Portugal Mobi Summit, the biggest mobility event in the country.
See all about Portugal Mobi Summit 2020 in www.portugalms.com