Smart Cities: An Answer to Social and Environment Risks?
The pace of technological change in the last 20 years has abounded. In some ways, we struggle to keep pace with these changes from a policy and practice perspective. This is perhaps nowhere more apparent than with the notion of “smart cities” and the use of “smart technology.” Much has been written about the implications of the use smart technology has on cities and here journalist and Urban and Regional Policy Fellow, Catherine Sabbah, joins the discussion by exploring how smart technology can address new social and environment risks in Paris — drawing on lessons learned from her case studies of how New York City and Chicago have incorporated smart technology into managing security and urban planning. She found that while there is great opportunity to harness the power of this technology and the corresponding data gathered to inform policy planning, design, and implementation, two things set the United States apart from the Paris example — and in fact pose something that Paris can learn from these two cities. First, a strong partnership between universities and the public sector (city government for example) is essential for development, analysis, and evaluation. While partnerships with the private sector are naturally relevant here and play a role, universities are taking a lead on understanding the implication the use of smart technology has in policy planning and design. Second, and drawing on the first point, universities are helping the public sector understand how to use the technology that is not just in the interest of the commercial and helps to ensure that the interest of smart technology remains in the domain of and for the public. This paper will explore these themes and more.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com