En la actualidad, la población mundial alcanza los 7.200 millones de personas. En el año 2030 se llegará hasta los 8.000 millones. Y en el 2050, la cifra será 9.200 millones.

Este fenómeno de crecimiento, que se enmarca en el tránsito de la era industrial a la era digital, viene acompañado por otro que será la clave para el desarrollo de la humanidad y del desarrollo económico: la tendencia de la urbanización. Todo el incremento futuro de la población mundial tenderá a asentarse en las áreas urbanas, manteniéndose más o menos constante la población rural.

Actualmente, a nivel mundial, la población urbana supone poco más del 50%. En el año 2050 se espera que el 63% de la población mundial habite en las ciudades.

Este nuevo escenario va a significar que cualquier desarrollo y planificación tenga como puntos centrales los siguientes:

Integración económica: infraestructuras y servicios productivos (red de carreteras, red servicios y red de transporte público) que fomenten la inversión y la generación de empleo.
Integración social: planificación social y política que reduzca la brechas sociales.
Integración medioambiental: prevención para la reducción de la huella ecológica y planificación de resiliencia.

Todos los planos tiene como eje transversal la sostenibilidad. Pero la idea de sostenibilidad tal y como la conocemos no será suficiente. Ha de ser una sostenibilidad inteligente: infraestructuras inteligentes. ¿Cómo lo podemos alcanzar?

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Acquiring an advanced and fair society it is in our hands. To do so, sustainable development challenges must be faced under and economic and social model to allow human development in all aspects.

The previous economic cycle, based on the assumption of unlimited growth and the infinite capacity of environment and natural resources, is over. One fact that proves it is that the world has gone through one of the most important crisis and economic breakdowns. This has also caused a social fracture generating indifference over issues that should have been a priority from the beginning. Turmoil can and must be changed.

Although it could be said that destruction mode is on, the blossom of a new better world is possible through a transformation process. Knowledge and expertise of the last years must be taken into account. All agents involved should collaborate. Citizenship, enterprises, Administration, Mass Media and NGOS, among others, must push towards a new socioeconomic behaviour and pattern.

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Why hurricane Patricia did less damage than expected?

When meteorologists and experts were cranking the sirens over the arrival of Hurricane Patricia on the western coast of Mexico, most had in mind the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In that case, unfortunately, over 6,300 people were killed.  UN had previously made this comparison taking into consideration any possible risks and the initial magnitude.

Fear of an historical magnitude hurricane –category 5 in the Saffir-Simpson scale- was plausible. Thankfully, hurricane Patricia did less damage than expected, but nobody was able to foresee that with all metrics that is was going to go the other way around.

Therefore, most attention should be paid to the analysis of this particular phenomenon, because it could become extremely useful for planning other similar emergency situations.

If hurricane Patricia caused less damage it was due to warning and evacuation systems, but, above all, it had to do with natural elements and geographic and random factors.

The warning and evacuation system worked reasonably well. Notwithstanding, it must be pointed out, that this might have happened because initially there was a category 5 hurricane expected that turn out to be a tropical storm.

Thankfully, hurricane Patricia landed in a non-populated area and not within the industrial and productive strategic area of Port of Manzanillo or within Puerto Vallarta touristic zone. The outcome would have been absolutely different if this would had taken place.

On the other hand, the hurricane became a tropical storm in less than ten hours, considered an historical event by the US National Hurricane Center, based in Miami, Florida. The unexpected role played in this case by the western Sierra Madre mountains as a natural barrier turned out to be determinant, as the Círculo Volcánico Transmexicano and the researcher from the University of Guadalajara, Ángel Meulenert, suggest.

Even though, we live in the XXI st century, and we rely upon a high degree of technological development, we still depend on random and nature factors when it comes to global disaster relief.

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Five tips

 Although Hurricane Patricia could be considered the hurricane that never came to life as expected, there shall be five steps taken within global disaster relief, striving to enable quicker and better response during crisis and catastrophes in a more effective, sustainable and cost-efficient way.

  1. Floods: A water evacuation support net should be ready, always according to the amount of water expected in case of use.
  1. Water, power and communications supply must be shut down: There shall be backup systems, as electric generators and water tanks, in order to guarantee supply.
  1. Landslide: A relief road scheme must be planned after analyzing all risks and coming up with contention engineering solutions. By doing so, road blocking will be avoided and, under critical circumstances, towns and cities will not get isolated.
  2. Damage proof and destruction proof buildings:  anti-earthquake and anti-hurricane measures must be implemented always taking into consideration the risks.
  1. River and coast line overflowing: Architectural contention and protection barriers must be design in order to prevent the risks of severe climatology effects. The measures must also provide added value to the areas where these schemes are implemented. They must also contribute to social and economic development within the established natural catastrophe high risk areas. On the other hand, river areas must count with specific disaster relief and support against overflowing as a consequence of severe torrential rainfall produced by hurricanes or typhoons.

If all risks are taken into consideration as well as relief schemes the action of Nature might be mitigated and by doing so securing population from natural catastrophes.

Planning, under resilience patterns, becomes essential for not leaving any aspects to random variables.  It might appear more expensive in the beginning, but it is cheaper compared to material and reconstruction costs. Any cost will always be more reasonable than the human life lost.

EARTH AT NIGHT 2050 Christian Manrique

This video shows how city lights will increase and will spread by 2050 in differents areas of the world: India, China, United States of America, Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mexico, Egypt and the Philippines


 OECD has reduced recently world economy growth perspectives. GDP has been fixed in a 3% during 2015 and it’s previewing a strengthening for 2016 situating GDP in a 3.6%

Although progression of the USA’s (being this country the first principal value in world economy) GDP is 2.4% for 2015 and 2.6% for 2016, the main factor that explains this downsizing comes from the combination of China’s economy slowing (second principal value in world economy), financial upheavals and the fall of the price of raw materials.

According to OECD, it’s expected for China to grow up to 6.7% during 2015 and to reach 6.5% in 2016. These forecasts are based upon the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) indicator for the Asian country, which point out that it is below 50 points, meaning economic contraction. (When this indicator is above 50, it refers to economic expansion and being below 50 refers to contraction).

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Anti-cyclic moments, time for planning

The most desirable issue consists on converting the risk that represents an anti-cyclic moment into an opportunity to analyze and to establish a medium and long term planning. Basically because, if operating globally from such a point of view, this will give a preliminary survey of needs and will contribute to accelerate slow recovery entering into a new sustainable balance.

Marine transport as an international trade indicator 

Within this blog among my Global Drivers, transport is an indicator to evaluate world economy situation.

Marine transport, besides being a global economy indicator, helps to define future development trends, even in advanced countries and as well as in emergent countries. It also indicates about how economic, enterprise and competitive planning should be within mid and long term.

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Marine transportation, which represents more than 80% of traded goods in the world, is growing over world GDP (UNCTAD). World maritime trade grew with only a 3.8% rhythm in 2013, moving 9.6 billion tones. Within, containers raised a 5.1% (651 million TEUs), a very similar percentage to bulk goods trade growth. The relevant issue here is to have on account that this rate represents the lowest rate of the last 5 years.

On the other hand, in 2014 marine trade grew up 4.1%, moving over 10.5 billion tones, and its estimated growth for 2015 will be 3.9%, representing over 10.9 billion tones.

Analyzing the short term, and due to the estimated marine growth contraction, everything indicates a slow recovery; notwithstanding, the positive point is that the gap between offer and demand is reducing.

Baltic Dry is one of the main indexes for measuring world economy situation, besides evaluating transport evolution of solid raw materials by sea. It reached its maximum historical rate in 2008. With economic crisis, the index sunk, reaching a lowest historic rate in 2015, which allows to empower the previous comment about slow recovery.

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Less BRICS and MINT and more economic and trading activity geographical areas  

The most extended stream of analysis talks about emerging countries, as key factors within the growth economic equation. Without taking analytical value to this pattern, it is pertinent to point out that there are new reasons to adopt a new vision, centered in areas instead of countries, due to four reasons:

1.- Maintaining the focus on countries offers incomplete parameters because observing economic zones and areas will allow to establish interdependency connections, to measure intra-zone and inter-zone fluxes and, at the end, to obtain the most relevant analytical information in global strategic planning terms.

2.- Some of these countries being part of these two groups represent instability and uncertainty, due to institutional questions as well as political, demographic and to industrial development issues.

3.- A country’s frailties can be compensated (related to international trade streams) by other countries’ strengths not aligned within neither BRICS nor MINT.

  1. If this analytical perspective is assumed, not only a more realistic view can be obtained, but a more positive definition as well from expectations and opportunities.

*BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

*MINT: Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.

Changes in trade world geography:  The box that is still changing the world

A widening point of view exercise must be carried out and focus put on development areas and not in countries. At this point, it is relevant to underline that there new emerging centers within the marine transportation net which configure with accuracy the delimitation of this trade development zones.

On one hand, the Panama Canal expansion project will rise up to 80% the volume of goods (TEUs) moving within this infrastructure.

On the other hand, the growth on the trade of intermediate products, with a higher added value along with specialized production concentration to serve this demand, takes logistics chains to seek economies of scale. In doing so, the growing size of container carriers’ trend is reinforced producing a direct impact over port facilities, alliances, buys, mergers and is also affecting the concentration of port operators.


As Global Marine Trends 2030 brings out, by Lloyd´s Register Marine (, it can be stated that the mid and long term is defined by a series of potential development areas:

  1. The most important is the intra Far East (ASEAN countries)
  2. Far East, Middle East and South Asia.
  3. Far East and Latin America.
  4. Trans Pacific.
  5. Europe Far East.
  6. Africa and Far East.

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Gráfico de transporte marítimo contenedores 2030      transporte marítimo de contenedores gráfico

It could become a general rule of action to use container routes, although these mean only a 13%, because in net value are over 50% of the total amount of carried goods, and thus, their impact sets a trend (“The Box That Changed the World”, de Arthur Donovan & Joseph Bonney).

The zones described are production and consuming zones which, put in relation with the expected growth population, give an idea about the challenges awaiting to satisfy future needs.

It must be clear that currently is the moment to face these challenges. Although slow recovery is not a desirable fact, it gives the chance to prepare and to establish a planning to grow in a sustainable and resilient way.

Cooperation among zones will contribute to the development of world growth. The idea is to advance towards a pattern which should include convergence and synergies among the different areas, avoiding debates and dialectics between developed economies and the emerging ones. The model must try to pass over every country’s weaknesses, focusing over the strengths that come from growth population and its effects over the rise of production and consuming centers. It must also assimilate the concept of strategic geographical zone within world trade routes.

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Today, Monday, the fifth of October, President of the United States, Barack Obama, reached a trade deal with Japan and other countries from the Pacific zone, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


La OCDE acaba de revisar a la baja las perspectivas de crecimiento de la economía mundial, situando el PIB en un 3% para el año 2015 y previendo un fortalecimiento para el año 2016 que sitúa el PIB en un 3,6%.

A pesar de que la progresión que se prevé para EEUU (siendo este país el primer valor director de la economía mundial) es de un PIB DE 2,4% para 2015 y de un 2,6% para 2016, el factor principal de las perspectivas a la baja es una combinación de la ralentización de la economía china (segundo valor director de la economía mundial) con las inestabilidades financieras y la caída del precio de las materias primas. Son estas circunstancias las que están determinado esta nueva evaluación a la baja.

Según la OCDE, se espera que China crezca en el 2015 un 6,7% y un 6,5% en 2016. Estos pronósticos están en sintonía con el indicador Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) para el país asiático y en él se ve puede observar que está por debajo de 50 puntos, indicando una contracción. (Cuando este indicador se sitúa por encima de 50 indica expansión económica, mientras que cuando está por debajo hablamos de contracción).

Haga clic sobre el gráfico para verlo con mayor tamaño.


Momentos anti-cíclicos, tiempo de planificación

Lo deseable es convertir el riesgo que representa un momento anti-cíclico, generado hoy por la situación económica y financiera global, en oportunidad para poder analizar y establecer una planificación a medio y largo plazo. Básicamente porque, si operamos globalmente con esta visión, podemos adelantarnos a las necesidades y contribuir a que la lenta recuperación se acelere y entremos en un nuevo equilibro sostenible.

 El transporte marítimo como indicador del comercio internacional

Dentro de lo que en este blog hemos denominado Global Drivers, la categoría TRANSPORT actúa como indicador de estado de la economía mundial.

El transporte marítimo, además de ser un indicador económico global, nos ayuda a definir las tendencias futuras de desarrollos, tanto en los países avanzados como en los emergentes y nos indica sobre cómo deberá ser la planificación económica, empresarial y competitiva a medio y largo plazo.

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El transporte marítimo, que representa más del 80% de las mercancías que se comercializan por el mundo, crece por encima del PIB mundial (UNCTAD). El comercio marítimo mundial creció a un ritmo de sólo el 3,8% en 2013, moviendo un total de 9.600 millones de toneladas. Dentro de ello, los contenedores aumentaron un 5,1% (651 millones de TEUs), un porcentaje muy similar al de aumento del comercio de las mercancías a granel. Lo relevante en este punto es tener en cuenta que esta tasa es la menor tasa de los últimos 5 años.

Por otra parte, se calcula que en el año 2014 el comercio marítimo creció un 4,1% , moviendo 10.518 millones de toneladas, y para 2015 se estima un crecimiento del 3,9%, lo que supondrá 10.932 millones de toneladas.

Si analizamos a corto plazo, y debido a la contracción del crecimiento marítimo estimado, todo indica una lenta recuperación pero parece que el punto positivo es que la brecha entre la oferta y la demanda se reducen.

Uno de los principales índices para, además de medir la evolución del transporte por mar de las materias primas sólidas, tomar el pulso del estado de la economía mundial es el Baltic Dry. Su máximo histórico fue a mediados de 2008. Con la evolución de la crisis internacional, el índice se hundió, alcanzando un mínimo histórico en 2015, lo que nos permite afianzar más aún más la reflexión anterior.


Menos BRICs y MINT* y más zonas geográficas de actividad económica y comercial

La corriente de análisis dominante habla de los países emergentes como factores claves en la ecuación de crecimiento económico. Sin restarle valor analítico a esta pauta, es pertinente señalar que hay razones para adoptar una nueva visión, centrada en las zonas y no en los países, fundamentalmente por cuatro razones:

1.- Mantener el foco en países ofrece parámetros incompletos porque observar las zonas y áreas económicas nos permitirá establecer conexiones de interdependencia, medir flujos intra-zona e inter-zona y, finalmente, obtener información analítica más relevante en términos de planificación estratégica global.

  1. Algunos de los países pertenecientes a estos dos grupos presentan situaciones de inestabilidad e incertidumbre, tanto por cuestiones institucionales como políticas, demográfica y de desarrollo industrial.
  1. Las debilidades de un país en concreto pueden verse compensadas (en cuanto a flujos de comercio internacional) por fortalezas de otros países de la zona no inscritos en los grupos BRIC ni MINT.
  1. Si asumimos esta perspectiva analítica, obtendremos una visión no sólo más real sino también más positiva en cuanto a expectativas y oportunidades.

*BRICS: Brasil, Rusia, India, China y Sudáfrica.

*MINT: México, Indonesia, Nigeria y Turquía.

Cambios en la geografía mundial comercial: The box that is still changing the world

Debemos hacer un ejercicio de amplitud de miras y poner la lupa en aéreas de desarrollo y no en países. En este punto es relevante señalar que hay nuevos centros emergentes en la red de transporte marítimo, las cuales configuran con bastante precisión la delimitación de estas zonas de desarrollo comercial.

Por un lado, la ampliación del canal de Panamá tendrá el efecto de que el volumen de mercancías (TEUs) que transiten el canal aumentará un 80%.

Por otro lado, el aumento del comercio de productos intermedios y de mayor valor añadido junto con la concentración de una producción especializada para atender dicha demanda, hace que las cadenas logísticas busquen una economía de escala, lo cual reforzará la tendencia al aumento del tamaño de los buques portacontenedores produciendo un impacto directo sobre las infraestructuras portuarias, las alianzas, compras o fusiones de navieras, y la concentración de operadores portuarios.


Según el estudio Global Marine Trends 2030, realizado por Lloyd´s Register Marine , podemos observar que el medio y largo plazo se define por una serie de áreas de desarrollo potencial:

  1. La más importante será el intra Far East (países de la ASEAN)
  2. El Far East y el Middle East y South Asia.
  3. Far East y Latinoamerica.
  4. Trans Pacific.
  5. Africa y Far East
  6. Europe Far East.

Haga clic sobre los gráficos para verlos con un tamaño mayor

transporte marítimo de contenedores gráfico

Gráfico de transporte marítimo contenedores 2030

Es preceptivo utilizar las rutas contenerizadas dado que, a pesar de suponer en porcentaje sólo un 13%, en valor neto supone más de un 50% de lo transportado y, por ello, su impacto marca tendencias (“The Box That Changed the World”, de Arthur Donovan & Joseph Bonney)

Las zonas que se describen, son las zonas de producción y consumo que, puestas en relación con el crecimiento poblacional esperado, dan una idea de los retos que nos esperan para satisfacer las necesidades futuras.

Hay que tener claro que ahora es el momento de abordar los retos. Que la recuperación sea lenta no es un hecho deseable, pero nos da la oportunidad de prepararnos y de establecer una planificación para crecer de una manera sostenible y resiliente.

Es la cooperación entre zonas lo que contribuirá al desarrollo del crecimiento mundial. Debemos avanzar hacia un modelo que busque la convergencia y las sinergias entre las áreas de tal modo que no haya debate entre países ni dialéctica entre economías desarrolladas y emergentes, que intente superar las debilidades de cada país, que incida en las fortalezas que pueden derivarse del crecimiento poblacional y sus efectos sobre el crecimiento de los centros, centro de producción y consumo y que asimile en concepto de zona geográfica estratégica dentro de las rutas comerciales mundiales.

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En consonancia con las líneas expuestas en el post, el lunes 5 de octubre, tres días después de publicar este post, el presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, alcanzó un acuerdo comercial con Japón  y otros países de la zona del Pacífico, el Trans-Pacific Partnership.


These are the six global drivers of strategic management (infraestructures, technology, economics, society, environment and resources) that have become essential for shaping the future of our world. Also, these will stablish the main subjects and categories to write about in this blog. My intention is to do it from a global and multidisciplinary approach. Therefore, this will imply variations on the interest over the drivers and also different outcomes depending on their measurement and their treatment.

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By 2050 world population will reach 9.6 trillion inhabitants and 66% of this growth will take place in cities of the developed world that will be the home of 6 billion citizens.

Population will have to cohabitate with the evolution of urban infrastructures and technology and cities as well citizens will have to be ready to face social, economic and environmental risks.

Just as a significant issue, it must be pointed out that, as EM-DAT sources underline, between years 2000 and 2014 $1.88 trillion worth of damage was caused by adverse natural phenomena.

Within such a context, measures to reduce predictable and specific risks play a highly relevant role in urban planning.


 Paths of resilience



Resilience is a term born during the 70’s in the ecology field. In relation to our case, resilience is the cities’ capability to respond, to resist, to keep on working and to relief under stress and collapse circumstances.

The driver of planning based upon resilience focuses on strengthening cities touched by climate change alterations and other global threats.

A resilience and planning strategy includes new steps towards the improvement of public and private building taking care of energy efficiency, resistance to climate change as well as adapting transportation, telecommunications, water and energy supply infrastructures against earthquakes, floods and sea level rise.

New challenges

Today, more than ever, Public Administration must invest efficiently in sustainable and resilient infrastructures.

Cities have become complex systems constantly adapting to changing circumstances.

Just having on account the dimensions for achieving sustainable excellence (economic, social and environmental, besides the technical ones) has proved to be insufficient. New urban developments must keep in mind adaptation to climate change and reduction of natural disasters, aiming to prevent or mitigate the loss of essential assets under specific circumstances.

Therefore, it is not just a question of constructing more sustainable or more solid infrastructures. It has become a matter of managing the interaction of infrastructures with the city and with its inhabitants to become more resilient.

A change of mentality is needed. Urban planning must be considered in different dimensions: economic (considering the high costs for not having resilient infrastructures), social (health, wealth, culture and leisure), infrastructures and environmental (energy, water and communications).

Promoting resilience within these dimensions minimizes risks and reduces costs in a long term; the costs of constructing resilient structures are lower and more profitable, as well as, more efficient and more reliable than adapting the existing ones. United Nations has published a study named “Making resilient cities” that can be used as an example.

New York: An exemplary initiative to build up a resilient city


The effects of hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean and the East Coast of the United States were severe, even worst in the Lower Manhattan area. Also, within the area comprehended between the Hudson River and the East River, Sandy left 50 people dead, 300.000 damaged homes, without any sort of basic supply for several days, and $19 billion worth of damage. Affected hospitals had to evacuate their patients and the New York stock exchange market closed down for two days causing a world financial shock.

Since then, the city of New York has deployed a series of initiatives to improve the city’s resilience. One of these, known as the Big-U  had as its main goal to implement a conceptual plan to develop a green area with public spaces, cycling roads, cultural centers as a barrier against floods and hurricanes.

It did not just stop there and currently the process continues in order to stablish specific projects in the damaged area to empower coastal protections, public buildings and homes.

Recently the city took a step beyond its own future, when its mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced an integral sustainability and resilience planning, based upon its current plans, with the idea to develop and empower them, denominated OneNewYork. This formula broadens New York’s planning strategy to citizens’ participation, looking forward to having a more sustainable, more resilient and more equal city, also tending to eliminate dumps.






We find ourselves immersed in a world in transition in which radical changes are being operated. Before a deep change and fast rhythm situation, and having on account that people are the most valuable pieces for global development, it becomes fundamental to understand the importance of being prepared to evolve at the same time as events. Our capacity for re-invention will give us the measure to face these changes with success.

But, on the other hand, not only people must take action to re-invent themselves. Infrastructures, as a mechanism contributing to give answers for new social, economic and environmental needs that are being taken, must also take the path of re-invention from the very first moment of their study and planning. It has become essential to reinforce the strategic element when defining our urban models, from a full analysis and giving planning a long term perspective.


In the short and middle term we will have to encounter a series of factors among which these can be underlined:

  1. By the year 2050 world population will reach 9.6 trillion inhabitants.
  2. 66% of population growth will take place in developed world cities and will put together a population of 6 trillion inhabitants.
  3. India will replace People’s Republic of China as the most populated country.
  4. Over 30% of population within developed areas will be 60 or over.
  5. By the year 2050, 50% of world population will be middle class and acting and behaving closer to a collaborative economy environment rather than competitive. They will have to face climate change economic, social and environmental side effects.
  6. World vehicle stock will grow at an annual 3% until 2030.
  7. By 2050 the volume of natural resources consumed will reach 140 trillion tones, the triple than currently.
  8. The new industrial revolution which brought the Internet, the Internet of Things (Iot) and Social Media, together with the latest advancements in the field of robotics, drones, self driving cars, nanotechnology, ICT, 3D printers and M2M will move towards in depth re-balance, producing a new global order.
  9. By 2020 there will be 30 billion of connected devices within a digital environment in which intelligent objects will increase their capability to interact with human beings.

Re-shaping the world

“If you don’t like change, you are going to like irrelevance even less” (Tom Peters)

Re-inventing ourselves has stopped being an option. The need for continuous learning to become competitive must overpass the good intentions speech.

Something must be clear: professions and jobs for future generations haven’t been named yet. They do not exist yet. The key point lies in our capability, as a society, to adapt, learn and refuse old ideas and concepts in a reasonable high speed.

It is absolutely required to create a new paradigm capable of transforming changes, a model that will forge the base for the pillars of the future, enabling and empowering the capability to acquire knowledge and tools for decision making, tending to stimulate the search of efficiency and excellence as a goal.

It is meant to evolve towards an integrating model, based upon a holistic point of view, where an interactive environment must be established amongst population, infrastructures and new technologies, giving answers to new social, economic and environmental needs.

This new pattern must keep within its DNA integrated sustainability to impact learning and education, energy (new technologies: waste), technological (big data, IoT), economic, environmental, infrastructures and urban development fields.