To embrace the smart city means to leverage the enthusiasm of publics, the private sector, and government organizations for digital technologies and devices into conversations that encourage civic participation and provide public values. The dominant idea of the smart city as defined by its technology can be used to highlight matters of local importance and involve publics in defining the values and dynamics of the local versions of ‘smart’.
These five plays are actions that can be taken by the range of actors involved in the design and implementation of the smart city, prioritizing a values-first approach that can be implemented across organizations.
Embrace “Smart Cities”
Cultivate Local Innovation Ecosystems
To cultivate local innovation ecosystems, cities must support and partner with those private and public organizations that have an understanding of, and desire to, serve their community’s needs, rather than placing the development of smart cities entirely in the hands of large national corporations. Seeking talent and knowledge within the community, cultivating data literacy, and developing technologies that prioritize public values are all means by which local ecosystems can be involved in the implementation of smart city technology.
Invite Public Influence
Inviting public influence requires a re-imagining of traditional means of involving the public in the civic decision-making process, developing new frameworks for participatory action and augmenting engagement with new technologies. This re-defining of what civic participation entails must be a value-centered process, specifically those values of equity and community agency, without which a city cannot be truly smart.
To question data is to think critically about the reasons it is collected, how it is acquired, and to what purpose it is put. It is essential that these questions be asked of government, public, and private sector organizations that use large data sets in the development and implementation of smart city technology and infrastructure; doing so can help to prevent the violation of people’s privacy and civil rights.
Imagine The Possible
To design for play and civic imagination means to look beyond the corporate values of efficiency, productivity, and profit when designing the smart urban landscape. To create livable smart cities, it is essential to incorporate creativity, experimentation, and the element of play into the processes of conception, design, and construction.