Helping everyone to participate
This growth in citizen participation is forcing governments to address issues of technological inequality and accessibility. For example, in Israel, the Negev hub for innovation will help to connect disparate Jewish and Arab communities located in this desert region. The hub will provide them with the technology needed for improved access to government services and programmes and enhance residents’ quality of life. In addition, an increase in on and offline collaborative methods such as Decidim, Barcelona’s new voting system
and Stockholm’s Open Lab
will give people from all backgrounds a greater opportunity to shape city policy and programmes, as well as identifying better and innovative ways of doing things.
It’s not quite a one size fits all!
Putting citizens in the driving seat to determine the priorities for the smart city agenda will result in every city having its own focus areas and goals. However, this does not mean that we cannot have commonality in the way cities approach smart. This will be supported by an emergent culture of knowledge sharing and the development of frameworks that provide a structure to the smart city process.
ABB, Bosch and Cisco have established an open-software venture called Mosaiq
. It aims to unify smart home technology, allowing devices, appliances and services from different brands to communicate and work together, even where they use different operating systems/software. Anyone can access the mosaiq software and apply it to their product, in the hope this will foster innovation and improve scalability. Web portals like Github also provide open source software and projects that developers, citizens, corporations and governments can access. These open source projects can be used as they are or modified and built on to meet other needs; preventing people from reinventing the wheel and allowing individuals to collaborate on projects to develop the best solutions.
In addition, BAM is currently exploring how we can develop a framework that will give cities a structure that they can use to determine what their priorities should be, set standards and approaches for data collection and create metrics and KPIs to define success. The framework will be scalable and can be easily applied to cities of differing sizes, neighbourhoods and districts. It will also provide a much needed pathway for governments looking to adopt this approach.
The smart city movement has come a long way in a short time and is gaining traction across the world. However, if it is to become the accepted way of doing things, there is still a lot more to be done. We need to pull together all the disparate parts into a clear approach that can be easily scaled and put in place the mechanisms, which will allow every community to participate in the process and access the tools and knowledge that will enable them to reach their goals.