Upon invitation of the IT Partners Club and Alliancy magazine, INTA General Secretary Michel Sudarskis opened the dinner-debate by questioning the concept of smart city and its meaning evolution.
The IT Partners Club is a business, prospects, support and information circle for the digital transition of companies.
The presentation of Michel Sudarskis demystified the myth of the smart city by updating the term:
Smart cities are no longer future or mythological. They are here, real and they are growing rapidly, as the Internet of Things and the impact of digital on municipal services around the world expands: Seattle, Helsinki, Singapore, Songdo, Milton Keynes, Barcelona, Lyon, Nice or Bordeaux, Nairobi. Certainly none are totally "smart" but they are on the path.
Despite this success, there is no fixed definition of smart territory or smart city; the criteria of the smart city vary according to the countries, the sites and the actors who mobilize it, at least it is a variety, a variant, labeled territorial system (mix and fusion of genres: resilient, inclusive, ecocity, sober , creative, innovative...). The smart city can be seen either as a territorial development strategy in response to socio-economic issues, or as a set of tools. Mr Sudarskis focused on the smart city as local policies, according to 3 axes.
Strengthening the engineering of local communities to transform the territorial system
The technical and industrial issue of the smart city is the data, which allows an optimization of urban services. However, digital technology cannot solve systemic problems, which must be addressed first. The mobilization around these problems can only be done through the action of the different urban actors. This cohesion is also necessary for the diffusion of digital tools in the city. A local urban policy is therefore the key to the development of a smart city.
How to anticipate in a context of radical breaks?
To build a sustainable urban project it is necessary to be able to rely on an imaginary, on a "narrative" shared by a majority of the population; the smart city has not yet produced a collective (positive) imagination; we must therefore return to fundamentals and make the digital offer consistent with local development strategies. It is also about anticipating all the major breaks that are marking cities, which can not be answered by outdated models.
Who will be the master of these futures, these disruptions?
All local actors must work together to deploy smart solutions to urban issues. To succeed, it is important to remove some obstacles: lack of funding (not yet a convincing return on investment for communities and inhabitants), lack of support (costs in terms of change management) with the consequent lack of internal expertise ( technical and financial).
Connecting the major urban functions for a greater efficiency of the urban system is one thing, connecting the inhabitants to their urban space is another, connecting the inhabitants to each other is a challenge of another nature.
The acceptance and ownership of these innovations by citizens are already crucial issues for the development of smart cities. It is the way of managing the urban transition that conditions both the reception of technologies and the involvement of citizens in urban projects.