Internet of Things (IoT)

Citizen engagement key to successful smart cities

Improving the lives of citizens is at the heart of the smart city concept. Even so, many city leaders often focus on the technological infrastructure of smart cities, looking at issues such as CO2 emissions, congestion, energy and data integration etc., rather than the end user.

It’s worth taking note, however, that according to an Intel-sponsored study by Juniper Research, smart cities are estimated to have the potential to ‘give back’ 125 hours to a residents every year.

“There tends to be a focus on the technical underpinnings of building a data-centric world, but we can’t overlook the importance of the real human benefits that smart cities have,” says Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research. “Connected communities, municipal services and processes have a powerful impact on a citizen’s quality of life.”

Smart City projects need to get smart about their data in the face of GDPR requirements. Find out Why GDPR means Smart Cities need to move on from an ‘Open Data’ approach

In order to develop a truly successful smart city, analysts believe that citizen engagement is crucial. In her recent report for analyst firm Gartner, research vice president Bettina Tratz-Ryan says the way forward is a community-driven, bottom-up approach. She notes that residents should be involved in the design and development of their smart city from the get-go, rather than city leaders following a top-down policy that focus specifically on the technology platforms.

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Keri Allan

Keri Allan is a freelance journalist and editor who has been covering the engineering and technology sector for over 15 years, writing for titles including E&T Magazine, The Engineer and Arabian Computer News.

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