The concept of smart cities is decades old but remains contested – in terms of what ‘smart’ exactly means, and who its enhanced technologies are actually for.
Through years of research and working closely with cities, at Eticas we have identified several issue areas that must be explored when considering any new smart city project: data governance framework, data sovereignty, transparency, return on public investment, responsive procurement, redress mechanisms, meaningful consent, citizens at the centre…Eticas Foundation advocates for ethical data governance in cities.
Smart technologies mean increased sensors and monitoring activities. More citizen-government interactions inherently mean the collection of more personal data.
When private companies are given money to create pilot projects, excellent new services can be built. However, if a project is truly valuable, it must be built to last for years or decades.
City officials assume that citizens will benefit from smart city projects, but has the assumption been tested? It’s easy for an administration to think that new technology projects will bring value to residents. However, residents must be involved in planning projects or they may not use them.