This article is available also in spanish here

Can technology foster democracy?

My list

Author | Amaia PorteiroDigital transformation is radically changing our environment and our cities. Now that we have the appropriate tools, perhaps it is also time to reconsider the structural challenges of our city administrations and governments, in order to make them become more efficient, transparent and inclusive.45% of the world’s population lives in cities and the percentage will continue to increase in the coming decades. Our cities are smarter thanks to new digital tools, but are the administrations too?Now that we have the tools, there are no excuses for not making that change. It is just a case of finding a starting point. What exactly is needed to achieve a more agile and smarter government?During the Smart City Expo World Congress 2019 held in Barcelona, a panel focusing on the most innovative cities in this area revealed that all of their conclusions were similar. According to the panel members, smart cities of the future need to be:

  • More agile. Able to adapt quickly. This includes working on lean budgeting for the low-scale and rapid implementation and testing of ideas under a fail fast approach.
  • More transparent. Everyone must be given access to the data collected, so that all stakeholders can take part in the subsequent decision-making processes based on such data. Transparency will be crucial in order to regain the much-needed trust of citizens in their institutions and encourage their participation.
  • More participatory. People must be at the centre of all the improvement strategies. Citizens must take an active role in the changes; they need to be heard and their requirements must be addressed.
  • More inclusive. All sectors of society, including minority groups, must be represented when designing solutions to promote equity.

The future of citizen-focused governments: paperless and participatory

dubai digital transformationAisha Bin Bishr, Director of Smart Dubai, presented the experience of the capital of the Emirates, which is close to achieving its objective of having a fully digital and paperless government by 2021. To achieve this, Bin Bishr explained that the processes of all the citizen journey services must be simplified and digitalised, more than 600 in the case of Dubai.It is also essential to integrate all sectors in decision-making processes: from the institutional and academic sectors, to the collaboration with the private sector and the representation of all groups of citizens (including the most disadvantaged sectors), as well as all the nationalities that live in a city. The aim is to generate an open dialogue between the community and the centre of urban power.Decision making must be as inclusive as possible. “Citizens must be aware of their importance and take over the decision-making process” -Rohey Malick Lowe, major of Banjul (Gambia), emphasized. In the case of her city, as with many others in Africa, the inclusion of the large rural population that has moved to the capital in development processes has been crucial, giving women a voice.If their contribution is to be genuine, citizens must not just be seen as mere “data generators”, instead, they must have suitable platforms and digital applications that enable their participation.In terms of the private sector, the experience of the city of Los Angeles, with its CleanTech Incubator and its IoT Consortium, suggests that the collaboration between companies and institutions should not translate into large projects, but small agreements that enable an agile and experimental approach. Companies should also get involved from the strategic planning stage and not just during the execution phase.Aisha Bin Bishr recommends not forgetting about start-ups. The Director of Smart Dubai commented that “most innovative solutions are provided by these”. Accordingly, the government of Dubai has established that at least 10% of the agreements between the municipal government and companies must be conducted with start-ups that propose improvements.

A change of scene: collaboration between cities

Traditionally, urban development and planning was defined by the framework designed by each country’s central government. Smart cities are giving way to a revolutionary change of model: the creation of inter-citizen and supra-national collaborative structures. This means the experience and knowledge of each city can be shared with other cities on their network, regardless of whether or not they belong to the same country.Another advantage for cities with small budgets is that each member of this collaborative network can test a specific aspect of urban planning, working by niches in order to subsequently share the data, conclusions and solutions implemented among all of them. This system can create tension with more centralist state governments, such as Banjul, but it offers unquestionable advantages for the urban development of small and medium-sized cities.In short, shared knowledge together with digital technology will be crucial for a more agile, efficient and economic development of smart cities in the coming years.Images | ZQ Lee, Goh Rhy Yan

Related content
Kenya's Konza Techno City: Is the project well planned?
Kenya's Konza Techno City: Is the project well planned?
Columbus, the smart city leading by example
Columbus, the smart city leading by example
Innovation and e-governance: which countries are at the forefront of digital government development?
Innovation and e-governance: which countries are at the forefront of digital government development?
There’s no smart city without a smart government
There’s no smart city without a smart government
As cities fill tech gaps, power of smart cities unleashes
As cities fill tech gaps, power of smart cities unleashes
Augusto López-Claros | Keynote Session | Lessons from COVID-19 and the Future of the SDGs
Augusto López-Claros | Keynote Session | Lessons from COVID-19 and the Future of the SDGs
Activating Strategic Alliances
Activating Strategic Alliances
Better Together: Partnerships for the Planet
Better Together: Partnerships for the Planet
Inauguration: Resilient Governance is Good Governance
Inauguration: Resilient Governance is Good Governance
Smart Cities: What Are the Requirements for Smart Governance?
Smart Cities: What Are the Requirements for Smart Governance?
Proprietary or open-source software? Arguments in favor and against
Proprietary or open-source software? Arguments in favor and against
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x01: Are our cities more resilient than ever?
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x01: Are our cities more resilient than ever?
Smart AMB: can data lead us to deliver better urban services?
Smart AMB: can data lead us to deliver better urban services?
A New Space For Mayors. Bloomberg to Fund Harvard Center for Cities
A New Space For Mayors. Bloomberg to Fund Harvard Center for Cities
Barcelona Provincial Council: this is how a smart region works
Barcelona Provincial Council: this is how a smart region works
PODCAST 1x01 - Are our cities more resilient than ever?
PODCAST 1x01 - Are our cities more resilient than ever?
Barcelona’s strategy to drive the 2030 Agenda in the city
Barcelona’s strategy to drive the 2030 Agenda in the city
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: cities become smarter by forming smart regions
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: cities become smarter by forming smart regions
Pablo Soto, regional representative of Transparency and Participation in Madrid: “Technology should be used to enhance institutions”
Pablo Soto, regional representative of Transparency and Participation in Madrid: “Technology should be used to enhance institutions”
Metropolitan governance: extending municipal governments as a response to new urban challenges
Metropolitan governance: extending municipal governments as a response to new urban challenges
How to go from being a town to a Smart Town
How to go from being a town to a Smart Town
The G20 creates the Global Smart Cities Alliance to establish universal norms and guidelines for the implementation of technology
The G20 creates the Global Smart Cities Alliance to establish universal norms and guidelines for the implementation of technology
Citizens at the heart of smart cities
Citizens at the heart of smart cities
Paul Duan, co-founder and President of Bayes Impact: “We should trust in the power of the multitude”
Paul Duan, co-founder and President of Bayes Impact: “We should trust in the power of the multitude”
Open government and citizen participation: a journey through history - Infographic
Open government and citizen participation: a journey through history - Infographic
How and why do cities die?
How and why do cities die?
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
New COVID-19 outbreaks: this is what the hammer and the dance will be like
New COVID-19 outbreaks: this is what the hammer and the dance will be like
Citizens policing our streets: is it lawful to report the inappropriate use of cities?
Citizens policing our streets: is it lawful to report the inappropriate use of cities?
Smart cities that failed along the way
Smart cities that failed along the way
Can technology foster democracy?
Can technology foster democracy?
Open data: how can they improve citizen engagement and the economy?
Open data: how can they improve citizen engagement and the economy?
Cities are for people: towards a new conception of public spaces
Cities are for people: towards a new conception of public spaces
Electronic voting, a reality that has little to do with virtual reality
Electronic voting, a reality that has little to do with virtual reality
Welcome to the Smart City Live!
Welcome to the Smart City Live!
How cities are using collective intelligence to fight the coronavirus
How cities are using collective intelligence to fight the coronavirus
What makes a city attractive to talent?
What makes a city attractive to talent?
Imec: Open digital twin framework
Imec: Open digital twin framework
x-tention: Towards post covid-19 smart tourism
x-tention: Towards post covid-19 smart tourism
Arca: Wave control for better health
Arca: Wave control for better health
Smart Buildings: Enabling reliability and resilience for a better future
Smart Buildings: Enabling reliability and resilience for a better future
DMAP: Unlocking the power of transportation analytics
DMAP: Unlocking the power of transportation analytics
These were the urban utopias that preceded us - Infographic
These were the urban utopias that preceded us - Infographic
Medellin: data and infrastructures in contrast to its troubled past
Medellin: data and infrastructures in contrast to its troubled past
Can citizens design their own streets?
Can citizens design their own streets?
2030 Agenda and Urban Agenda for Catalonia: from Strategy into Practice
2030 Agenda and Urban Agenda for Catalonia: from Strategy into Practice
How smart cities are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
How smart cities are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
From Crisis to Opportunity: Transforming European Cities in the COVID Era
Live
From Crisis to Opportunity: Transforming European Cities in the COVID Era
Cities as Testbeds for Innovation
Cities as Testbeds for Innovation
Smart Cities Germany – an emerging market for urban technologies providers
Smart Cities Germany – an emerging market for urban technologies providers
Recommended profiles for you
Remember to activate your profile to network!
Activate profile
GG
Germán Giró
Municipalidad de Rosario
Secretary of Modernization and Proximity .
CA
Catalina Aguilar
Creadorxs Dementes
CEO
LG
LUZ MERY GOMEZ CONTRERAS
Unidad de Planificación Rural Agropecuaria
Chief information officer
Andres Arias
Andres Arias
C4IR - Colombia
Lead IoT & Smart Cities
HN
Himmarielda Nawangsari
UTY
Student
VG
Victor Alejandro Godoy Lopez
Universidad Militar
Research Professor
GN
Guido Napolitano
Municipalidad de Rosario
Coordinador de cultura del distrito norte de la ciudad de rosario
CR
Cesar Camilo Rodriguez
Agencia Nacional del Espectro
Specialized Engineer
GS
Geoffrey Straniere
City of Los Angeles
ADA Compliance Officer for the City of Los Angeles
Leonidas Ramirez Quintero
Leonidas Ramirez Quintero
Corporación Universitaria del Caribe CECAR
Investigator student
Ileana Toscano
Ileana Toscano
Kallipolis
Urban specialist and community engagement expert
rm
rong mu
Vastio Technologies
General Manager in Vastio Technologies
Jos Van Winkel
Jos Van Winkel
City of Amersfoort
Board member & dept. manager
BL
Brittany Lee
Ratio.City
Product Manager
CC
Carlos Casaril
Unila
docente
aaguirreb16 Adrian Aguirre Barrionuevo
aaguirreb16 Adrian Aguirre Barrionuevo
Migrations office
Analyst
JB
Jieun Baek
Student
student
tc
tetiana collins
the main information and calculation centre
I administer several projects in the SmartCity platform and other developed by our Utility Company
GJ
Guillermo Jimenez Garcia
Smart Government Consultory
Socio-Director
RC
Roman Chlapak
Council of Europe
Secretary of the Governance Committee in the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$