Scholarly article on topic 'Understanding the Livability in a City Through Smart Solutions and Urban Planning Toward Developing Sustainable Livable Future of the City of Skopje'

Understanding the Livability in a City Through Smart Solutions and Urban Planning Toward Developing Sustainable Livable Future of the City of Skopje Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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Academic journal
Procedia Environmental Sciences
OECD Field of science
{sustainability / livability / "sustainable urban development" / "livable city" / "green urban future" / biodiversity / "urban landscape" / "urban structure" / "compact city" / decentralization / "planning documentation" / "smart solutions" / "smart technology" / "smart city" / "invisible city" / "open data."}

Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — Emilija Sofeska

Abstract The city is an urban system, or more precisely, a complex man-made artificial entity. We are generation that lives in the first urban century and understanding the city should be changed in order to obtain sustainability and resilience, but most of all livability. Citizens are those who define city nowadays, but moving toward livable cities in the future should consist of smart urban solutions. Different cities have different stage of development, but interest of this research is developing sustainable livable city of Skopje as it is the most important and biggest city in the Republic of Macedonia.

Academic research paper on topic "Understanding the Livability in a City Through Smart Solutions and Urban Planning Toward Developing Sustainable Livable Future of the City of Skopje"


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Procedia Environmental Sciences 37 (2017) 442 - 453

International Conference - Green Urbanism, GU 2016

Understanding the livability in a city through smart solutions and urban planning toward developing sustainable livable future of the

city of Skopje

Emilija Sofeska *

Cosmo Innovative Center, Jane Sandanski 113, 1000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia


The city is an urban system, or more precisely, a complex man-made artificial entity. We are generation that lives in the first urban century and understanding the city should be changed in order to obtain sustainability and resilience, but most of all livability. Citizens are those who define city nowadays, but moving toward livable cities in the future should consist of smart urban solutions. Different cities have different stage of development, but interest of this research is developing sustainable livable city of Skopje as it is the most important and biggest city in the Republic ofMacedonia.

©2017 The Authors.PublishedbyElsevierB.V. Thisis an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of GU 2016

Keywords: sustainability; livability; sustainable urban development; livable city; green urban future; biodiversity ; urban landscape; urban structure; compact city; decentralization; planning documentation; smart solutions; smart technology; smart city; invisible city; open data.

1. Introduction

The situations with sustainable development and green urban future offers field for many research. This work gives understanding the livability in a city, through sustainable and green urban development, by taking into focus in different aspects: urban structure, urban energy, urban mobility, urban climate and urban smart technology. Those thoughts and findings should be used in pilot projects for the establishment of livability in urban development of the city of Skopje.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: 00 386 51 472 623. E-mail address:

1878-0296 © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of GU 2016


Cities are becoming the predominant environment for living and working. They are followed by intensive degradation, destruction, pollution and overpopulation, so livability or quality of life in the city has become crucial. Sustainable behavior has to have positively influence in achieving livable future cities.

The future sustainability will be provided by use of urban smart technology together by living lab citizen's approach, in order to understanding the citizen's design science, by social framework of crowdsources as the important part for the planning of future cities.

Recognize the different measurable criteria for the assessment of livability and how to influence the design of livable cities will provide drafts and contents for pilot projects in developing sustainable livable future city of Skopje.

2. Planning, building and managing the new urban structure with sustainable aim toward green and livable city

The contemporary urban planning and thinking of sustainable urban future is connected to the famous quote from "Our Common Future", also known as the Brundtland Report, named in recognition of former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability offuture generations to meet their own needs."1

The main questions are: how to urbanize in harmony with society, economy and environmental, and how to balance our short term needs with the long term demands that have to obtain livable conditions for our future generations? For achieving the aim of livable city, planning should take care of environmental importance of the climate, nature and territorial elements. Citizens need to feel piece of natural made entities in the urban jungle of artificial structures, in order to feel live and satisfied.

2.1. Planning the new urban structure

Contemporary development of the cities is dealing with global economy and market, which produce society that is moving from and to the cities on the different continents, as it was early between cities or rural and cities in the one region, or between neighbor countries. This refers to global interconnections that must be taken in to account in planning livable urban place.

As much as city in Europa and United States are growing and developing, their urban planning is not connected with the new ways of planning which is already present in the cities in Asia, that are in the stage of rapid development. This is similar like it was with the European and North American cities during the age of industrial revolution in the 19th and 20th century. But today, we are talking about multi millions cities and increasing the global networking amongst the urban centers. In the 21 century the urban development is relocated to the Middle East and Asia, so cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Tokyo are today's most livable cities and the fastest growing mega-cities in the world.2 Those new multi millions cities are growing not only in their density, but also territorially, so new planning should simulates the effects of mobility and design of the urban structure, not only by the increasing number of cars and other vehicles, but also by provide a new solutions for effective and energy efficient urban transport.

Since 1992 Skopje is the capital of the independent Republic of Macedonia and regained an important geopolitical role in the region. The city covers an area of 7088.60 ha and 180 705.53 ha surrounding region with 444760 inhabitants. The city is located in the eponymous valley, particularly in the central and western part of Skopje field. It lies in the length of 22 km and 11 km in width. In Skopje valley exist 153 settlements, 28 villages and the city of Skopje. Analyzes that explore sustainable planning of the city of Skopje are relating to the model of urban development that is implied by GUP for Skopje year 2001-2020.

Skopje is an urban agglomeration with a large concentration of population and functions. In terms of physical, functional and demographic growth it has above average pace of development in the region. Skopje is extremely important transport centre on the crossroads of international corridors. Today's 1/3 of the total industry in the country is concentrated in Skopje, which is the reason for the increase of population.

But, where is Skopje on the map of planning livable future cities? If we make a rich picture of what is Skopje today, we see that a city of such scale faces with logical problems in terms of transport infrastructure, air pollution, inefficient use of energy, but also with numerous of social problems which exist in all densely populated cities. In addition, Skopje has its own problems related to unplanned building and outside the building regulations of the ustainability ofbuildings.

Fig. 1. (a) Synthesis display of the GUP Skopje 2001-2020 year; (b) Rich picture of Skopje 2.2. Building the new urban structure

Today's city is a complex man-made artificial entity which is consisting of urban systems on the ground: transport system, streets and traffic roads, pedestrian and bicycle paths; above the grounds: all kind of buildings, traffic and city lights, and wires for transport vehicles on electricity and under the ground: infrastructures, subways and underground paths. In the historical core of the cities all these urban systems should be incorporate without damage the traditional aspects of the quarters. Building the new urban structure promote urban entity which can be recognized by networking on internet of things as a bases for smart urban solutions.

Cities can contribute to their sustainable development by setting buildings with low energy consumption, diverse land use, population density and with the level of construction that provides economic provision in using heating and cooling services and waste disposal. Priority is given to transport strategies, pedestrian and bicycle movement, and strong promotion of the use of public transport. Public transport must include strict standards for noise and pollution. In the realization of all these changes is important to remember that the street still has a focal role in the social life of a city.

Skopje is demographic centralized city since there is a big difference between the city and the region. It is the result of previous centralized development in the country, where the immediate neighborhoods of the city did not fully use its potential and was influenced by the strong migration policy. Skopje region has an average density network of settlements with an average 14.5 km2.

City's economy in transition felt decline in investment and disinvestment. Outdated technologies for production lead to loss of the markets in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, Central and Eastern Europe. The economy also faces serious problems in ownership restructuring. The majority of new business entities are small businesses, but it logs the possible potential of initiatives for more efficient production and service delivery. This situation gives a positive mood when it comes to employment. Existing industrial zones (South, Northeast, and West) are predicted to be undergoing sharpened criteria for environmental protection. Southeast zone by 2020 is predicted to grow only by smaller objects of secondary industry activities and services, which do not pollute the environment.

Skopje is characterized by a diverse structure of residential font: individual freestanding residential buildings with their own plots, residential buildings in rows with their own plots, closed and semi-closed perimeter blocks as multi-family buildings, freestanding blocks and towers as multi-family buildings with one or more entrees. Total net constructed area of apartments is 8 053 714 m2 with average flat surface of 66.60 m2 per flat. Territory covered by housing in Skopje is 45%. The projected housing development in the planning period to 2020 should allow

rational spatial organization of housing and increase the intensity of use of urban land. In this sense, the greatest densities and coefficients of utilization of construction land is reasonable to expect in the downtown, that has a high value of urban land, as well as high dynamics and public interest. Outside the downtown area, or the old historic core, where there are less housing densities, is recommended strategy for the construction of multi-family residential buildings block with G+3 and G+4 floors, in terms of meeting the hygienic and technical conditions, but also privacy microclimate conditions. A major objective of housing is leveling the living conditions in all parts of the city, and linking all areas of housing with infrastructure systems.

Skopje has complex and difficult problem with illegal construction. It's engage urban land, space for public green areas, protected areas with special purpose, spaces intended for industry and etc. The blame for this situation is not only in large and unplanned migration in recent history of the city, but also the omissions made in the planning legislation and non-compliance and non-implementation of appropriate sanctions. Given economic situation of the population in localities inhabited with illegal construction, the quality of life in these areas is relatively low: lack of equipment with non-economic facilities, inability to build or upgrade existing facilities because of unregulated construction conditions, bad constructions, bad situation because of the proximity to busy roads localities, railroad, highway, areas near dumps , areas directly affected by noise etc.

The average daily mobility of the inhabitants of the city of Skopje is 2.11 trips per capita of which: 0.71 trips per capita are achieved with pedestrian movement and 1.40 trips per capita are generated by the different types of vehicles. The plan suggests primary traffic network in city that includes: express roads, arterial roads and collector roads. It is a radial-concentric system of roads. This model consists of a circular ring around the center and radial directions to the city center.

The bus subsystem performs the public transportation in the city and suburban public transport of passengers. Tram - rail vehicular subsystem as the main provider of public passenger transport in urban traffic, according to research and analysis, has to be built and put into operation by 2020. Concept development of the railway system in the planning period relies on the need to modernize the railways in general. On the other side, rail transport could play a significant role in the organization and in completing the network of suburban traffic in the city of Skopje.

2.3. Managing the new urban structure

New urban structures imply dynamic occurrences. That is why it is necessary to build innovative methods and instruments for a dynamic city management. Starting with the plans of the city, the managing process should notice the city's life-cycle. Also the city governance must developed open data in answering the requests from the citizens. Rules and building regulations will play an important role in the future to manage the city.

For controlling of the level of development and limits of the growth of urban environment is necessary to determine the condition of increased population, the emergence of new economies and industries, business development which enhances purposes and the cost of the property. It is measured through the percentage of involvement of new areas and the use of unused land in the urban environment.

In Skopje, there are huge supplies of urban land that is unused (50 % of the city's land), which provides an opportunity for future growth without expanding the city limits. Particularly, it is important to know in what condition is a land, whose ownership is and to be included in the planning purposes or, if not, to be altered its function if it isn't used for the intended purpose. Throughout the development period of the city, there was only preferred construction on new lands without a reconstruction and filling of abandoned spaces in the devastated city. Rare are the examples of reuse of land in the city, as exemplified by Kapishtec settlement, built on the territory of the old railway. Everything else is built on completely new urbanized land.

The swelling of the city limits may include a great deal of unused and devastated areas, industrial and commercial zones, etc. This situation can be used in favor of sustainable development in a way that will encourage construction of unused land will encourage increased density, without being destroyed and open green spaces that exist in the city.

Purposes of space and land use are needed to be checks if there are provided all necessary services and their availability to the appropriate community. In addition, there should be no insurmountable limitations in the use of content to the community, for who are directly intended, and also for the neighboring communities. Measurability of diverse land use and various purposes is possible with respect to the standards and regulations for specific content:

rated capacity for housing, education and health, the percentage of service activities and service facilities for businesses, sports, recreation, culture etc.

The downtown Skopje is the most attractive place which houses all purposes: trade, sale, housing, culture, entertainment, education, health services, service, hospitality, and greenery and parks. In the downtown are located City mall and one more relatively new shopping-center. City Mall is open plan and it included even residential buildings associated with the environment with direct access from the main square and the park. The shopping center is introvert space at a facility that contains all the elements of commerce, entertainment and services. These centers not only serve the surrounding residential communities, but are important objects that determine the significance of the downtown.

Within the so called Small Ring, there are neighboring communities that have access to the downtown immediate (small distances in radius of 400m). It provides a solid basis for establishing sustainability in terms of compactness with regulated traffic and opening opportunities for using alternative transportation opportunities (pedestrian and bicycle transport , organized public transportation... ). Neighboring communities are attached to the Small Ring at the distance of 1 km or 10-15 minutes' walk. At Small Ring is affiliated Large Ring with designated residential buildings of the so called City Wall which have the main purpose of housing. Closeness to the center allows residents to use all content and accompanying the feeling of life in the downtown city.

Skopje has Regional centers that serve to a population of 80 000-140 000 people. In each of these centers there are some drawbacks. Almost all have inadequate number of parking spaces according to the capacity. There are no daily content for health care, social content for the elderly, some cultural content (cinemas, theatres, etc.). Nor children's and sports playgrounds have appropriate dimension, usually are too small.

So, when it comes to use of space and use of land in the city of Skopje all purposes are mainly concentrated in the downtown which indicates the failure of the regional centers that should meet the needs of residents in the respective districts in terms of trade, culture, sport, recreation etc. In every neighborhood is satisfactorily presence of accompanying content of education, welfare and health.

In order to ensure sustainable development, is necessary to complete the function of the regional centers in order to satisfy the principle of decentralization of purpose and ability to reduce the population travel to meet the needs of everyday life. The downtown thus will not lose its attractiveness as a place to visit, but will reduce unnecessary travel by residents of settlements, which in certain parts have population density as a small town. Also decentralization, that characterizes the city, will gain more vitality and attractiveness through the variability of uses.

The density is a planning parameter that represents the ratio of the total built area of buildings and land area where buildings are constructed (numbers of objects per hectare). This parameter can be calculated at different spatial sizes of the territory of the city (urban block, hectare of land, etc.) and the city as a whole. Density of the population refers to the number of residents in relation to a particular spatial size of the urban area or city as a whole (number of people per hectare). Controlling can be achieved by examining whether this increased density provides economical use of land, infrastructure etc., whether it is included in all city services and whether they support public transportation.

In Skopje almost there is no part of the city where the density is in sustainable limits, but below the minimum viable density. As these parts cannot exist independently, are associated with adjacent residential communities and share the accompanying content. On the other hand, the supplementary facilities do not exist in sufficient numbers that would be required in a sustainable density (it mean the lack of a sufficient number of health facilities, facilities for sports and recreation, open courts, post offices, banks, and service etc.). Unsustainable urban structure in density is also visible physically. The neighborhoods that are most distant from the downtown are characterized by the greatest density that is contrary to the aim of compactness. It entails the decentralization problem, and problems in providing transportation, infrastructure, jobs, and services.

Due to the condition of the improper density in much of the city and unsustainable distribution of density in urban structures, Skopje needs increased density or compactness in its downtown. In some ways the process of increasing the density is in progress by being build doubled surfaces with upgrades and additions. This process is changing housing typology from one-house G+l in multi-residential buildings with G+3 to G+5. This trend leads to the merging of objects and creating parameter blocks with front on the street, as recognizable city structure. Towards this trend of compactness, should encourage construction in plots that would be filled, but not on the public open spaces and greenery.

Traditional parameter city block that is placed on a plot of land with owners allows easy changes. That is what currently happens in the city, increasing of the construction with additions and upgrades. Modern concepts of urban structure, composed of partially free-standing or free-standing residential buildings on land without plots and with numerous owners of apartments, are thankless structure that cannot be transformed over time. The settlements which are built on that model is difficult to adapt to sustainable densification, which mean that it should be carefully selected future urban structure of the city of Skopje, particularly one that increases density without leading to problems in the neighborhood.

Traffic size is an important factor for evaluating traffic that takes place in one city annually. Measurement of this indicator is simple: through passing the number of vehicles in one hour, minutes spent in traffic is at a standstill, minutes spent traveling from one particular point; minutes spent waiting for public transport, the number of vehicle users, length of roads in km etc. Controlling how this affects in sustainable urban development should define model of urban traffic system, which areas should be provided for traffic infrastructure and the types of vehicles, and reducing of air pollution.

Main vehicle in Skopje is a car, which makes the city completely unsustainable in its behavior when it comes to traffic and transportation. The car gets its primacy in the plans of road networks after 50's of last century, although early motor traffic occurs with urban public bus transport. Plans for Skopje road networks designed for a capacity of vehicles for 5 people per car. The introduction of the tram as a public transport was mentioned, but that idea never realized. The rail transport is completely excluded from public transportation in Skopje, and is only used as long distance transportation of passengers from other cities. An interesting initiative is to revive the bicycle traffic with the opening of bicycle paths along the southwest- southeast river coast in the town. It should be emphasized that walking is also very common in Skopje, especially for passage of small distances in the downtown and around the settlements. This is suggesting specific sustainable habit, which may be a good basis for deepening such behavior.

Automobile traffic in Skopje reaches limits of concern and alarm. The streets are not instantaneous, air pollution is high and above the permissible limits, and there is noise and disorganization of traffic. Many of the streets of lower rank are ending blindly, or are not finished. It is especially tricky for the functioning of public transport. There is a need to improve public transport and to think about ecological vehicles for public transport, as a viable alternative for transport.

Traffic delays are also common and mostly in the downtown area. Traffic congestion is directly associated with air pollution and noise. The problem with parking spaces is expected because is planned or built for a capacity of 3.8 inhabitants per vehicle or 1.3 vehicles for every family in Skopje. If you add to that necessity for providing parking space for functions like commerce, hospitality, administration, entertainment, culture and etc. situation is worrying. Sustainable transport in Skopje can be seen and developed through using pedestrian transport with 33.5% and public transport with 34 % of the total transport in the city. Despite the large percentage of car use in Skopje, the facts that are used a lot of old cars is additional burden when it comes to air pollution.

Sustainable development is possible if the traffic give more space for cycling and pedestrian movement, improving urban public transport using modern environmentally friendly vehicles and good organization by opening and completion of the street network. It is good to think about the possible implementation of rail type of public urban transport, which is very pure type of traffic.

Future managing of the city will be provided by use of urban smart solutions together with living lab citizen's approach. Togetherness and openness understanding the citizen needs. Thereby the crowdsources takes an important part for the planning of future livable cities.

What is certain is that the city authorities in Skopje have the ideas on the project Skopje - smart city, but what is uncertain is when the initiative will be completed in specific pilot projects. It is true that there is a set of system for control and monitoring of public transport with software GIS solution that monitors traffic in real time. The city government is announcement the projects that relate to energy efficiency gasification of public buildings and schools, as well as procurement of electric vehicles and bicycles.

Skopje has its own problems related to unplanned building and outside the building regulations of the sustainability of buildings. Yet the biggest problem, with which Skopje is facing, is air pollution and inefficient traffic. To this end there is only one online application My Air3 with open database for the percentage of air pollution in the city and in the settlements.

3. Criteria for livability in the new urban structure

Livability is known from ancient time. First Aristotle mention the term "Eudaimonia" which mean living well or doing well. Psychologist Carol Ryff extended the principles of Aristotle of what she regarded as psychological well-being: autonomy, personal growth, self-acceptance, and a sense of purpose in life, our sense of environmental and positive relations with others.

Those qualities oflife use many criteria ranked in different levels:

• safety and crime, political and economic stability, tolerance in the public realm, business conditions,

• proactive policies, availability of goods and services, low personal risk and the standard ofliving measured by gross national income per capita;

• education, hygiene, health care, culture, life expectancy at birth, education index, years of schooling and expected years of schooling;

• environment, recreational possibilities, the climate, environmental issues, access to nature;

• public transportation, international connectivity;

• quality of architecture, urban design, effective infrastructure in a city.

Livability is a characteristic that is basically unmeasurable. It is impossible to measure the quantity of the quality of urban life. As it was mention cities has different stage of attractiveness and thus different stage of livability. Frequency of change of the urban structure, building models, but also quality and quantity of upgrades, reconstructions etc. is providing recognizable, formatting and aesthetic elements in the city. This is preservation of the urban matrix, and most importantly, the existence or creation of places in city where people want to live.

A livable city is one where people like to live and can afford to live. There are many criteria that define livability of a city and the criteria are different for different persons according to their personality, cultural and national background, traditions and expectations.

3.1. Spatial models for sustainable urbanization

For the first time in history we live in an urban shape of the world habitat. Currently 60 % of the world's population already lives in urban areas, of which 65 % live in cities with more than 2.5 million inhabitants. It is expected that already in 2020 the world population will be 8 billion people4. The most important element here is the human dimension that must be taken into account.

Urban development couldn't be based on standardized models. The possibilities for developing are specific for each city and have to be established in terms of the context and the region. Urban development should be conducted in cooperation with the public and community, social priorities, the establishment of urban form and care for the local environment.

Although the Europe and America is mostly urbanized the majority of the population has lived in relatively low density cities (decentralized city). With information technology, these habitats may gain a new life. Typically, we associate the high density habitats with so called vertical cities (compact city), like cities in the Asia. This is achieved by constructing high rises building and by adding residential to up 55 floors high and adjacent to the central business district.

Polycentric urban development is actually a decentralized urban development. Polycentricism basically has the idea of spreading around multiple centers that will develop social and economic activities. One of the ideas is to create an urban environment that will ensure a quality life. Livability is obtained by re-creating small neighborhoods so-called new urban villages. They are geographically dispersed communities that containing houses with enough space around, so people can deal with agriculture and to produce food and other goods necessary for life. The traditional life there would be complemented by new telecommunication network.

Cities, on the other hand, might be coherent and compact (inclusive towns) with the aim, urban area to become simpler, affordable and stimulating for their citizens, regardless of their social status, age and health condition. Compact cities are characterized by medium and high density built environment with mixed functional and public

open spaces, with certain limits of growth and planning in accordance with the protection of natural resources outside of urban areas.

Skopje has all the prerequisites to develop decentralized due to the large influx of population. Polycentric urban model should include decentralization of economic activities in the settlements, which is a prerequisite for increasing mobility of capital, greater availability of jobs by place of living of the population. Skopje in its polycentric development should be designed according to development scenarios for different needs. With its industrial zones can develop production, or in the regional centers in mostly residential neighborhoods can develop service-oriented economies, while in the downtown to organize administrative activities and cultural activities.

Compactness in Skopje would be particularly important for the intensity of building able to create urbanity for abandoned, devastated and unused spaces in the downtown. Besides intensification of the build, it is necessary to intensify the activities, but only to the extent of utilitarian. Excessive intensification would mean pressure on infrastructure and thus sustainable development is impossible. The compact model Skopje would protect rural areas that gravitate towards urban sprawl of the city and would have been preserved natural resources of the environment. Compactness provides excellent opportunities for promotion and development of alternative types of traffic in urban areas, such as the use of bicycle and pedestrian movement. The model of compactness in Skopje can be implied because there is a historical core of the center, which reinforces social activities and meetings of people, what is, on the other hand, a characteristic part of the mentality of the population in Skopje. Meetings and informal gatherings are part of the local culture and city's picture, especially related to public open spaces. Skopje in the social and livable sense is alive and warm city, and compactness will further emphasize the use of parks, squares, streets and walking areas for city residents.

Fig. 2. Informal gatherings are part of the local culture in Skopje

3.2. Recognition of the value of biodiversity in urban landscape

Biodiversity is a network of wildlife, in which man occupies an integral part5. Nature in the city is now recognized through what is called urban landscape. When we discussing the urban landscape, commonly involve organized space, but it should not be forgotten that the list includes water, air, land, and more recently and underground space. Greenery in the urban environment suggests a connection with the bio-region. It provides hygienic conditions and plays an important biological role in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, regulates temperature by cooling the air and increases its humidity. The greenery helps in reducing the noise in urban areas and absorbs dust and smoke. If green is presents by park or garden, it can have aesthetic values and social role, and a positive influence on physiological functions in humans.

Cities can regain their connection with bio-region in two ways: the first is cultural, which is necessary to create the true relationship between biodiversity and development of the city. This can encourage the daily interaction with parks, urban farms (permacultures) and green architecture. The second way is physical, i.e. designing the infrastructure of the city to allow biodiversity to maintain and preserve its characteristics. This mean greenery to be

an integral part of the city superstructure and be included within the urban blocks, zones for recreation and sport, rest areas... with what city strengthens its social character through informal meetings and communication between citizens.

Skopje is located in Skopje valley surrounded by mountain ranges (Vodno, Suva Gora, Zeden, Skopska Crna Gora and Kitka) in the city are some hills (Zajcev Rid, Kamnik, Gazi Baba) and flowing rivers (Vardar, Lepenec and Markova Reka). Such geographical picture conditioned specific climate characteristics of the city, and specific flora and fauna. Today's state of biodiversity is such that the existence of urban greenery is divided as follows: 276.70 ha of public greenery which is composed of residential green, 3.38 ha of regional parks and 54.82 ha of city parks; 144.98 ha of vegetation within the public facilities (health, education, science, culture, botanical gardens...); 68.70 ha of recreational sports centers and 166.83 ha of protect foliage. According to the analysis of the total urban greenery, there is 14.54 m2 of greenery per capita in Skopje.

Skopje should continue to nurture its natural context of environmentally friendly way. Except preservation, cleaning, arranging of these natural resources, in order to encourage sustainable development, it is necessary to increase the green area in the city with new avenues, parks, squares, especially in populated areas outside of the downtown area.

4. Information influence in achieving future cities

It is apparently that in today's cities lives information society or society that has knowledge related with information and communication technologies. Therefore future cities became labelled as smart cities, innovative cities, information cities, or simple just future cities. "In analogy to information architecture, information city has two main meanings: (1) making the invisible visible on the scale of a city and thus helping to understand the functioning of an interaction between components of the city, and to design new cities; (2) information city might become a metaphor for the structuring and ordering of vast amounts of data, created increasingly by the city's inhabitants and its infrastructure."6

Today, almost every citizen has easy access to the internet through different types of devices (computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones....) and in the same time generates large amounts of data. Those data are basically real-time data. By storage, display and use of amount of real-time data, city became information organism which produce information and became information.

Visible information is all urban structures that define space: buildings, traffics, people, vegetation, lights. Invisible information is produced by citizens and constantly flows of data which may be localized or are connected to some city's processes, like transportation for example. Before one person visited the city, may have search through the invisible part of the city. With this part, cities expand its borders not territorially, but virtually. Invisible city may not be planned with the traditional methods of urban planning. It is completely depending of real-time data and the opportunities to become open data.

All cities' data should be collected in order to answer different needs in process of urbanization or in urban life in general. Methodology for using data in urban design covers steps that begin with analyzing and categorizing different data types, through defining and implementing visual interaction techniques, tests and improve the techniques with data sets and integrate the techniques in a real design scenario.

4.1. Smart city

Smart cities use smart technology to solve problems that will enable sustainable development. Many cities have begun the process of using smart technologies in traffic, energy use, solving pollution problems, social activities and etc., but there are those who designed, planned and developed from the beginning as completely new smart cities. What then constitutes life in a smart city and how to distinguish it from the current urban life?

One of the visions is the city to be effectively controlled through the system of smart technologies. Data from this operational center issued real-time information relating to traffic management, energy sources or lighting control, even control the use of water. The entire urban operating system should be run by the city government and big technology companies that enable engineering. However, what makes the smart city is not an open network technology, but the contribution of citizens who live in it and are active in the use of technological connections to

the city through access to applications on their smartphones. Those citizens are key initiatives for city becoming a smart city. This kind of urban observatory, have the city of Rio de Janeiro.7

This means that the entire urban operating system should be based on open data and guarantee of privacy in the use of such data by the citizens. In this way, citizens are motivated to participate in building their own applications and projects that would complement system, which develops not only the social component, but also a sense of entrepreneurship and development. Smart technologies provide tremendous opportunities for development but also open doors for abuse and unethical behavior, which is certainly a challenge we have to face humanity in its future development.

The core of the smart city is composed by citizens, infrastructure and technology along with the database, entrepreneurship and innovation, strategy and city government, education and inclusiveness. The smart city as project includes:

• daily service management infrastructure through Information Technology and social platforms;

• data analysis and intelligent urban management;

• use of environmentally friendly mechanism for generating its own energy needs from alternative energy sources

(fields with solar panels, farms to collect wind, etc.);

• recycling, water production and go as far as to set up their own autonomous system for waste management.

The infrastructure of the modern city, nowadays include telecommunication network, too. This formed smart infrastructure where the most important element is the database that is used for analysis and interaction between devices by sensors. Internet of things (IoT) is a networked system of physical objects with the Internet, whereby objects may exchange data with each other. This means that certain devices communicate with each other using the internet and can be controlled by a smartphone, or perform certain tasks by controlling and directing each other (machine to machine (M2M) ).Today, it is believed that there are more networked devices than there are inhabitants of the planet. Currently there are about 4.9 billion devices connected together, and by 2020 that number is expected to reach 25 billion8.

Establishment of smart infrastructure in a city requires investment by the city government which will recognize the long-term benefit. The smart city should be self-regulating complex system that includes all the elements of each stage of its development and that is what keeps the city as a self-sustainable system.

4.2. Engaged citizens

The success of a new city depends on the skill with which citizens use technology. But citizens should be engaged in the design, creation and improvement of technological solutions, or be interested in initiating projects and problems that should be solved. For example, if there is an application that citizens will mark where and how often to use electric vehicles, the city government will know on which places should set up electric charging stations for the vehicles. In this way citizens become co-creators of the smart city. It puts citizens at the center of the process of opening cities to their transformation into smart livable cities9.

4.3. Skopje as a livable smart city

The pilot project Skopje smart city should initiate a series of innovation and raise smart activities in the city (services, technology development and product development). Encouraging technological, social and organizational innovation is an idea to expand beyond the regional territory of the city of Skopje. The project is open for ideas to all individuals, businesses and institutions in the city and requires internet platform and should be available on an interactive website where you can also underline problems, but also to put proposals for solving them.

One project is the one which concerns information for passengers of public transportation in real time along with Free Wi-Fi Internet in city buses. The buses are connected to sensors via GPS, Wi-Fi and interactively communicated with the panels at bus stops by sharing information in real time for position of the buses. This Internet platform need to be enlarged with mapping traffic jams and similar everyday problems by actively participating from citizens that are on the traffics. The marking of bicycle paths in Skopje passed as an urban art

project, but by clear demands of the bicycle riders along with urban planners and other traffic engineers may have ended project that cycling would gain greater significance for linear developed cities such as Skopje.

Also important project would be placing sensors on parking spaces in Skopje. Through online application, every driver can have access to a map with parking spaces in Skopje and data that parking spaces are free at the moment. Thus, not only saves time in searching for free parking space, but reduces pollution from unnecessary exhaust gases through the meandering in the parking lots, and the city administration for management of parking spaces has data in real time about the number of cars that are parked, and if the drivers settled its debt for the duration of parking.

An interesting project would be the formation of urban eco gardens following the example of the development of permaculture. One of the conditions of acquiring land is the obligation to treat the gardens in accordance with the standards of organic farming. Urban gardens are a form of economic, environmental, cultural and social challenges to the local population, and they also offering space for socializing and interaction, self-care, learning, creating a form of social and cultural community.

These and similar examples can be pilot projects that would be financed by the city government, European funds for sustainable urban development, as well as by the telecommunications companies that will enable Internet communication in real time and provide applications for online platforms. Also the contribution of citizens with their own ideas and interaction would be through workshops and NGOs.

5. Conclusion

Attractiveness and livability of the city are the result of many factors, and therefore increases and decreases over time. Attraction related to reputation, it is difficult to build up and easy to lose. Among factors that obtain attractiveness and livability are: location and geography, climate, accessibility, business opportunities, and governance. Most of the famous cities in the world like New York, London, Rome, Paris, or Moscow are attractive because of their cultural and historical value over time, but there are many new growing cities like Singapore, Shanghai, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Addis Ababa, or Dubai which are attractive because of the new technology urban systems, business opportunities, and governance. Unfortunately some of the cities in the world are dangerous place to live like Damascus, Kabul or Baghdad City.

Every system defines a set of objects acting together as part of the whole. Urban systems are large and complex and contain buildings, infrastructure, landscape, water and other elements as its parts. The urban system services define the underlying structure and necessary components that allow the urban structure to function. Smart cities can provide tremendous opportunities for livable future of cities, not only through the use of technology and Internet data, but also by increasing the flexibility of the urban environment through greater efficiency and the development of innovation.

In the end, it becomes clear that cities which can implement smart solutions and are tending to developed through livable and sustainable future are those that have a stable city government, efficient public-private partnership, those that are not corrupt and those that have a strong involvement of civil society.


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