Smart village: the online ‘piazza’ where people connect

A woman living in southern Switzerland realised people around her wanted to meet each other but didn't know how. So she created a virtual town square.

A woman living in a southern Swiss town noticed that people around her wanted to connect and share things but didn't know how. So she created the "smart village": a virtual town square. In the lead up to October's parliamentary elections, this is the fifth in a video series dedicated to looking at how political decisions affect the everyday lives of Swiss people. Monica Rush Solcà lives in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino. She recalls a time when people in the area used to connect with each other in the piazza, or town square, every evening. They would talk about their day, see what others needed and help if they could. But times have changed, says Solcà. Now, people are more physically isolated from one another and tend to connect online. They also own more "stuff" than ever before. One morning, she had an idea: create a group and a platform where her townspeople could exchange things and meet each other. "Smart village" was born. Today, the concept has been extended to several towns in Ticino, and members of the group host events to advertise the service. "Smart village" even has a couple of mascots: funny characters who are recognisable around town. Now, says Solcà, "Anyone who comes from far away and ends up here can feel part of this village." Generation Global series: ​​​​​​​

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