Susanna MarchionniCEO of Planet Smart City in Brazil
With over 25 years of experience in real estate, Susanna Marchionni is CEO of Planet Smart City in Brazil, having co-founded the company in 2015 alongside global CEO Giovanni Savio.
Having started her career in real estate in 1996, in Italy, Susanna Marchionni moved to the brazilian real estate sector in 2011, as CEO of Planet Smart City, the company that conceived the project of the first Social Smart City in the world – Smart City Laguna.
Graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Commerce in Turin, Italy, Susanna Marchionni is one of the special guests on PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS' Connecting Stories.
1. Can you tell us about your journey and your professional experience, as well as your current roles?
I am graduated in Economics and I started working in the real estate market in 1996, in Italy, with a very different reality from the one we have here in Brazil. In Europe, the housing deficit is not so pronounced, so most of the projects I participated in there were renovation or fractional ownership.
In 2015, I arrived in Brazil to start the kickoff of our first inclusive Smart City: Smart City Laguna. Completely in love with Planet's social capital investment project, I have since coordinated in Brazil the development of six developments, four inclusive Smart Cities in the Northeast and two vertical projects in São Paulo, where we will launch two more developments soon.
2. How can you describe Planet Smart City? What are the main objectives of this company?
Far beyond the market classification as proptech, Planet Smart City is a company totally focused on impacting lives. We deliver much more than houses and lots, because we build projects designed for people, democratizing access to quality housing in Brazil and worldwide.
Here in Brazil, the projects are built according to the public's purchasing power, usually classified as A, B, C, or D, but for us this doesn't exist. The quality has to be always the same.
Each public has the possibility of buying different products, but within our proposal everyone will have a high standard infrastructure, services and shared spaces.
3. How does Planet Smart City stand out in the market?
When we think of Smart Cities, technology is what predominates most of the time, with a vertical integration. Within this context, Planet differentiates itself by seeing technology as a means, not the end. For us, digital and social innovation go together, but people are always the focus.
And when we talk about people, we prioritize social inclusion, culture and engagement in each of our projects. Infrastructure, services, sharing economy and connectivity are essential, but a city is only truly smart with smart residents.
At our headquarters in London, we have a Competence Center with multidisciplinary professionals who propose, test and select our so-called smart solutions, which are tools for inclusion and interaction with the city based on four pillars: environment, infrastructure, safety and people. Each city has a set of solutions totally adapted to the place where they are.
4. Planet Smart City is the company that created Smart City Laguna, the first Social Smart City in the world. How did this idea come along and how did this process go?
The concept of inclusive Smart Cities was idealized by our global CEO, Giovanni Savio, who from the beginning has aimed to create cities that were not only innovative, but also accessible. In Brazil, for example, we fit into the Green and Yellow House, which offers purchase subsidies and facilitated financing for families with lower income brackets.
And this all started, in practice, with Smart City Laguna, which came about in an interesting way. Reading The Economist magazine, in 2011, I saw an article that pointed to the area of the Port of Pecém, in Ceará, as an area of great development. Without thinking twice, I bought my tickets and came to get to know the region up close. Then we commissioned a study from the University of Milan, which found the potential for growth and the housing deficit, the ideal conjunction of factors for our project.
5. How can Smart Cities improve the quality of life of the population?
I can say that we invest in improving the quality of life through access to opportunities. Among our smart solutions are initiatives to provide access to education, such as language courses and libraries; to leisure, such as movies, playgrounds, sports fields and parks; and to health care, such as shared bikes and open-air gyms.
Besides impacting our residents, we further expand our reach with opportunities for everyone with the concept of an open city. In our developments, any visitor can have access to services and common spaces for free. Development and empowerment, in Brazil and anywhere in the world.
6. What relationship exists (or should exist) between a Smart City and sustainable development?
I believe that the city is an extension of our homes and, consequently, so is the environment. Therefore, it is among the pillars that sustain our project.
We offer possibilities to integrate people to the place where they live, creating a sense of belonging that generates collective responsibility for care. Clean, wooded streets, access to community gardens, seedling banks and solar energy, for example, are among our strategies that impact people on several levels such as wellbeing, health and the economy.
7. What do you think the cities of the future will be like?
Without a doubt, with a focus on services. People in the cities of the future will not only buy houses or apartments, but the services that are around them. I see people who, even living in houses with 50, 60 or 60m2, can have parties of 300 people because they have shared spaces for that.
We are talking about the future, but in Planet's inclusive Smart Cities, our solutions already bring all this into the present. For work, for fun, for study or to generate income, our shared services are available not only to residents, but also to visitors.
8. In your opinion, what are the main differences in the development of a Smart City in Brazil and in Europe?
In Europe, the housing deficit is not as significant an issue as in Brazil. Because of this, the projects developed there are generally smaller in size compared to the Smart Cities here.
In Italy we have SeiMilano, with 524 apartments, and Redo, with 615 units. Both have an average expectation of 1500 future residents. Even smaller, these projects also have dozens of intelligent solutions designed for a higher quality of life.
Another possibility is the regeneration proposal, which implements the intelligent solutions in already built and inhabited communities. The Quartiere Giardino, in Italy, is our most advanced regeneration project with amazing results.
Integrated through digital innovation and social innovation, residents experience a new way of living with more contact with nature, interaction and circular economy. Before the implementation of the solutions, Quartiere had 200 empty units. Today, we already have a waiting list to live in our “green neighborhood”.
9. What can be expected from Planet Smart City in the next few years?
We plan to reach the mark of 10 developments in Brazil and expand our activities in Latin America. In the United States, we have started the construction of The District, an innovative social rental project that will be delivered in two years.
Around the world, we work hard to be recognized as a world leader in social innovation and digital innovation with quality social housing that brings empowerment to people.
10. Being PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS a company that is able to produce digital billboards, multimedia kiosks and other technological solutions for Smart Cities and transportation, what is, in your opinion, the relevance of digital for the development of Smart Cities?
Digital is key. The pandemic caught us by surprise with the social disconnect and showed us that those who were not connected were out of touch with reality. In this, Smart Cities need to be ahead of the curve.
Also, I often say that digital empowers because it gives people the ability to know and choose. Before, people used to buy lots or houses in the nearest developments. Today, they can go online, search for options, payment conditions, see reviews and, thus, decide on the ideal investment.
Connecting Stories is an editorial space led by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS which consists of conducting exclusive interviews, directed at influential personalities who work in different sectors of activity.
The project, conceived by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS, includes the publication of success stories, through small interviews with influencers who want to share details about their projects, opinions, plans for the future, among other subjects.
The idea is to connect stories, share knowledge, develop networking and generate content that can provide new visions, opportunities and ideas.
Founded in 2000, PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS is a world renowned Portuguese IT company, manufacturer of indoor and outdoor multimedia kiosks, self-service equipment, digital billboards, interactive tables and other digital solutions, for all types of sectors and industries. To know more about our story, click here.