Activity transversally approached by the CCWU and CCServices - Urban Services

smart-cities-applicationSmart City
Questions without answer



The concept of smart city is not fixed and its ever-changing and adaptable nature makes even more complex the achievement of its operative stage.

Smart City is a certainty whose outlines drop us away. It raises more questions than answers. Although its destiny is intimately mixed with technology development, it tells us nothing more about the place of the digital city and its determinism. Nevertheless it is a fact that the issue of governance is emerging and precisely since the question of the user has been raised - hence the "City 2.0", ie since 2006. However, we are still looking for answers. What is certain is that the goal remains to draft a "city for all", the "liveable city", when the economic and environmental constraints are too strong for communities to escape. Local governments will be the first beneficiaries together with their inhabitants. They are therefore, responsible of a careful development of the digital sector. This does not exempt services-led companies from providing innovations. It remains a major entry point: the data (open data, openness, sharing, reuse, big data ...) where there is almost everything still to be done.

The challenge of the "liveable city", how far should go the Smart City?    

Which understanding do we have about it? What kind of city do we want and for whom? What is the city that we can offer? This is a necessary prerequisite to be discussed before formulating any kind of questions to be able to face the new city and remove in the same time the constraints inherited from the city of yesterday.    

With an emphasis on the objective of social inclusion within the urban public services, the definition of the smart city turned over: moving from a model based on the supply to a model focused on the demand in which priority is given to changing uses, the question remains how to reach all social groups within a framework of quality services driven by technology alone, and what social and economic disruptions consider?   

Focusing the attention on the role of social and relational capitals, and proximity within urban development urban development as proposed by E. Glaeser, (ie put people in touch with each other, encouraging the interaction in a rich, unexpected and productive way), this is the question posed on the one hand by governance issues and on the other hand social, economic and cultural polarizations, as well as social inequality as the result of a policy of "smartness" which involves the ability to learn, adapt and innovate of populations - capacity unevenly distributed in the social body.    


What is the Voice of the territory? Can the “smartness” of a territory be contained within certain boundaries? How does this smartness influence territorial development at different scales? How does it relate to technology and how does it or not, cope with environmental issues?

In the situation where the smart city concept is based on a social and sustainable environmental as major strategic component, it becomes related to the question of finding the balance between the need for incentives for growth and environmental injunction.    


Services and their smartness towards a Services’ City?
Smartness is an answer to the infrastructure limit. After an optimization phase (Smarter cities), the question is how to go beyond: "How to mobilize competences to deliver services?" and especially "What kind of breaking off does it imply?”

If the definition of a smart city is based upon the use of a networked infrastructure to improve economic and political efficiency and to enable social, cultural and urban development, the question is whether the cause of the growth lies in the process of "connection" and in the infrastructures’ cabling  as a model of sustainable development.

Finally, the high-tech city determinism may lead to an undervaluation or over-evaluation of risk-assessment on the actual technology need of the city.    

If the attention is focused on the crucial role of high-tech and creative industries pushing the urban growth on the long-term, argues Mr. Florida, the challenge is whether the presence of a creative class alone can guarantee the performance of the city and its successful development over the long term.    

If the definition focuses on urban development depending on the economic profit, it might be necessary to wonder about the relevance of a neoliberal conception where the only engine of urban development is the economic aspect. In an economic context rather characterized by the international mobility of capitals in search of rapid profits and short industrial cycles, there are no guarantees of service providers’ sustainability nor geographic loyalty.

For how long the city can be "smart"? The ongoing changes in lifestyles, jobs, travel and transfer uses, put into question the nature and the purpose of the City – how to anticipate these changes?

Social networks, users’ unions: a governance’s disruption?
They are identified by the smartness stakeholders as the most influential actors of the Smartness scene. They are the largest contributors of data and the first consumer of derived services. This syndication of city’s users (and citizens) is, or rather “should be” a revolution in terms of governance.

Smart city - new city, new territories, and new partners: the privatization of the urban event - which mediations between city and service companies?

Between Big Data and Open data, which springs for the Smart City?
The data is both a prerequisite for services, their inexhaustible raw material and a new way of reading and experience the city. Smart City idea comes from the data. Smart City is the departure point to go beyond imagining new models and drawing up new innovative answers. In the meantime, these data open multiple questions. And the beneficiary of that is the city.  Isn’t that a new regalian function? How to govern the destiny of the data world for the benefit of all?

Collection, control and data management. The open source, data sharing ("Creative Commons"), etc.. For the creation of a data regulatory/organizing authority.


Combined contributions of Bruno Marzloff (Chronos / City Services) and Michel Sudarskis (INTA)

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