Cities are smart not only because new technologies are implemented in the built environment, but more fundamentally because the digital transformation of cities is based on big data. So, it would be more appropriate to talk about digital cities instead of smart cities. But how are data used to develop the digital transformation of cities, in particular towards social inclusiveness?
How are we conducting research?
The main argument of this research is that if we want to understand the “smartness” of cities, we should call them for what they are: “digital cities”. This is because cities are not only “smart” because of the implemented urban technologies but because the digital transformation of cities occurs through the use of massive amounts of data (big data). In this sense, we can talk about digital cities as innovation (eco)systems. Through the performance of qualitative research (interviews, document analysis) in a selection of European cities, this research examines the governance arrangements defining the modalities of data usage for the implementation of smart urban technologies (SMUBTs).
How does our research make impact?
As data on citizens are constantly collected through automated, algorithm-based procedures, it is necessary to put the modalities of data usage and exchange for the implementation of smart urban technologies (SMUBTs) at the centre of the public debate on the “smartness” of cities. Citizens have digital rights, so digital cities make sense only if they improve the quality of public services and the built environment, particularly if they promote social inclusiveness by satisfying the needs of diverse citizens. The public debate has to pivot around the extent to which city administrations take responsibility for an ethical use and exchange of citizen data when cooperating with (technological) private companies.
Lecture on the role of digital technology in the development of cities.
Coordinator: Dr. Sofia Pagliarin
Guest lecture on smart inclusive cities, organised by Prof. Jan Fransen
Grant of Het van Oostrom Fonds, a named fund of Stichting Erasmus Trustfond (ETF)