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How do we make

Smart Cities Civic

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A civic smart city reflects on technology through the lens of public value.

Rather than governments and corporations embracing smart technologies in search of problems, a civic smart city works with publics to define problems, and reflect on potential solutions, before implementing new technologies.

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What We Did

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This work is a collaboration between the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, the City as Platform Lab at the University of Waterloo, and the Center for Smart Cities and Regions at Arizona State University. The initiative began with a symposium entitled, “Right to the Smart City: Designing for Public Value and Civic Participation" on March 22—23, 2018 at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. The symposium and initiative are possible through support from the Knight Foundation, who featured this work at their 2018 Smart Cities Forum.

Right to the Smart City participants

Now it’s your turn

Use our workshop guide to reproduce our process on a local level in order to ground-truth our general findings and provide local texture to the definition of smart.

The workshop we provide is in the form of a day-long symposium, adapted from the model we piloted in March of 2018.

When used in conjunction with the five plays described, this workshop is intended to help cities to define their own localized version of ‘smart’, and to construct a workable strategy to encourage greater engagement with publics in the civic processes of designing the smart city.

Start Workshop