Smart Cities and Citizen Participation

Smart Cities and Citizen Participation


It’s difficult to talk about
smart cities without talking about smart citizens. Today, it’s impossible
to conceive smart city developments without
involving the citizens. And it is one of the stakes of
the smart cities of the future. It will be co-produced by cities, of course, there is a
democratic process with elected people, with the techno
structure to manage the city, the industries who hold new
development, new proposition, new technologies to make life
different, better, and the citizens. The citizens have their
expertise, we call it the day-to-day expertise and
they also have their knowledge, the information that
they have, and they have an incredible capacity
to co-produce ideas, proposition, warning
signs, because sometimes when industry wants to develop
something, the industry forget to see the warning signs and the
citizen will never miss the warning signs. So we are now in a context
where the smart cities can be co-produced with the citizen. CivicBudget is a platform
being developed by Inria, the University of California,
Berkeley, The Technological University of Berlin and
Missions Publiques with the support of the European Institute of
Technology and Innovation, EIT Digital. And CivicBudget is a tool to
boost the creativity of the citizens in the process of
building smart cities or smart projects. The idea is to
offer a digital platform and it’s really a tool that
allows broad input from people and then people meet to
agree, to exchange arguments, to make choices and the
richness of the process results from the combination of the
offline and online process. Smart cities result
from ideas from industry, proposition,
investment, decisions from the public sphere and ideas
from citizens, needs from citizens. And so, it’s very
important in the future that the industry and the key
players in the smart city building understand the
interest to work with the citizen. And it’s not by doing a
poll that you can do that. I mean, it’s not by asking
1000 people if smart city is a good thing for them. You
need to give time, you need to agree to leave to the
citizens some part of your power, of your ideas, of your
intelligence and to accept to cooperate with citizens.
And so, in the future, the smart cities will be more
and more co-developed with the citizens and it will
be possible if everybody in the implementation
process, in the decision-making process understands the
interest for this dialogue with the citizen and agree to
give some power to the citizen. It’s not to say that
citizens are always right, but the citizens have a contribution. They can warn about sides
effects that are not seen by the industry and that
may be very important. And this is what will
happen in the next 10 years. In the future, virtual
reality will be included in civic tech, robots will dialogue
with the citizens, serious games will be developed
to ease this realisation of the future of the
city, the impact of new developments, so it would be
a totally new landscape, but the basic will be the same. The basic will be the city
of tomorrow will be the result of new forms of dialogue
between citizens, industry, policymakers, elected
people and this new form of dialogue is very, very
important to preserve because it’s by enhancing the capacity
to listen to each other that the pace of
evolution will be boosted. If you don’t do that, you
will create walls and the efficiency of the smart
city will be much lower. And it’s very important
that in the future, the practice increase the
capacity of understanding of the value of citizen
participation and this is what will be the result of that. When
there is a good process of citizen participation,
the result is always there. There is no failure,
there is no failure. But to make this, you need
to jump into the water and say, I take the risk, I do it.

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