Quality of life is nowadays widely recognized as the key concept for societal and individual development, as it holistically refers to the level of general well-being of both. It is a broad concept that goes far beyond the classical emphasis on the economical richness and the material resources available to people and countries. Indicators for quality of life range indeed from economical ones to aspects such as health and social welfare, environmental conditions and sustainable development, citizens’ education, cultural level and participation in political life. The concept has both a focus on the individual and on societal aspects.
Europe has been offering its citizens a high quality of life for decades and is highly competitive not only with respect to other highly developed areas (e.g., USA, Japan) but also with respect to the emerging economies (e.g., Brazil, India, China and Asia in general). Moreover, this European prominence involves many facets that contribute to quality of life, including the economic ones: fashion, culture, art, tourism, food, health, etc., are all area in which the competitiveness of Europe is widely acknowledged. And Europe is sensitive to the development of other social aspects, such as intergenerational fairness, interracial tolerance, valorisation of cultural diversity and peace). At present, Quality of Life is a European Brand.
Italy contributes to this European prominence with its long standing tradition and its great potentials in areas such as culture, lifestyle, creativity, fashion, design, etc. Our nation-wide network of regions (Trento, Lombardia, Piemonte, Emilia Romagna, and Toscana) have all the reasons to be regarded as exemplars of high quality of life territories thanks to, e.g., economic well-being, quality of public services, awareness of social issues, cultural heritage resources, safe living condition, level of international awareness and development, facilities for schools, education and culture, awareness of, and respect for, the environment.
Europe’s worldwide leading position on quality of life is presently put at risk by the economic crisis. We believe, however, that Europe can not only maintain its prominence but further improve it by turning the current situation into a strong socio-economic competitive advantage, by exporting its quality of life brand along with its services, infrastructure and know-how and becoming the herald of a Quality of Life Revolution, seen as the European response to the challenges of economic crisis.
ICT is the key enabler of this vision as the development of ICT for Quality of Life is going to provide the tools, infrastructures and services to turn concepts and potentials into reality. Indeed, Information and Communication Technologies have evolved from supporting scientific or business applications to being one of the factors that most shape individual lives and societal well-being. Their role in making it possible to contemporary societies to attain and maintain a high quality of life is widely recognized thanks to the creation of new information and communication infrastructures and of new generations of services that directly impact on individual and societal quality of life. New areas are emerging – e.g., the Social Informatics, the Future Internet, Human Computing – that directly address many of the technical and scientific issues that need to be solved for the Quality of Life Revolution to come true. In all those emerging areas Europe has a strong competitive position.
We will focus our activities on the idea of “Person Centric Quality of Life”. We will initially start our activities focusing on three main domains that are key to the idea of Person Centric Quality of Life: Person Centric Well-Being, based on, e.g., home care and assistance, ambient assisted living, training and fitness, quality of food and of nutrition; Person Centric Mobility, with mobility seen as a key enabler of social life and self-realization, including rural areas beyond the borders of cities; Person Centric Culture Consumption and Production, with culture being a key asset for tourism, education, inclusion, participation in political life and, more generally, citizenship.