Video and Reading: Smart Cities and Communities
The following video (7:35 mins) by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) shows what Smart Cities should be. It also puts forward the concept of “smart communities”, in contrast
with what often governments and corporations try to pursue:
As the video says, to be participatory and democratic, Smart Cities should consider and implement the following five aspects:
- Open procurement and contracting
- Intensive public education and consultation
- Civic data governance as a government responsibility
- Smart Cities as a political issue and not a technology issue
- Agile policy-making processes
Even though the video is about Toronto, the same situation can be reported in many major cities around the globe: in all these cases citizens need to make sure that the focus is put on people, privacy and collective decision-making, and not on efficiency, profit and surveillance. The Smart City Government project has been mapping the way major cities around the world are engaging citizens through digital means as well as providing local decision makers with ideas on how to further develop and track their smart city initiatives.
We have learnt in the video that what makes a Smart City democratic and participatory is the community sustaining it. Because of this, it is important to understand the concept of Smart Community. These are communities in which local stakeholders, by using digital media and communication, form alliances and partnerships in order to innovate and to become part of their local economic and social developments. The focus can be on any local issue: transportations, environmental problems, quality of life: what is important is the idea of engaging through social participation as well as to promote user-specific technologies and community-building applications. In Smart Communities, citizens learn, work and innovate, and they do so by actively participating in decision-making processes in order to reach the objectives that matter to them.
Have a look at the picture below: how is it different from the first picture of this module?
Figure 2. An image of a smart community, with people at the centre. Source: https://urbanpromo.it/