Smart City Toolkit; towards a Wise City

This toolkit was developed in the FP7 project SocIoTal. (deliverables)

So you are a city council member,  a service provider,  a citizen, a hacker and you want to be part of transitioning your city into a 'wise' city? You came to the right place. For developers there are open source tools that enable you to build your own platform. For citizens we have information on how to start and run a Meetup. Information on engaging citizens in co-creating workshops is vital for service providers and city councils. Cities need to be aware of large trends like Circular Economy to give meaning to the technical monitoring infrastructure.

A large number of citizens are missing meaningful applications with fear that more jobs will be lost due to IoT and that Big Brother is just around the corner. It is therefore essential that IoT is co-created with people, not piloted at people. The move towards a citizen inclusive IoT in which citizens provide IoT devices and contribute information flows will have a significant impact. A variety of technological socio-economic barriers will have to be overcome to enable such inclusive IoT solutions. In particular the human perception of IoT is  critical for a successful uptake of IoT in all areas of our society.

Building the foundations for a reliable and secure citizen centric IoT requires a detailed understanding of the socio-economic foundations and possible incentives that may encourage citizen to share their devices with other community members. A set of incentive mechanisms and strategies to encourage citizens and end users to share their IoT devices and information flows with their community, city and the Internet at large will be outlined here.

SocIoTal identified three main barriers to broad adoption of Internet of Things in 'smart' cities. Namely, lack of understanding by SME's and City Councils, lack of third party trust providers and lack of involvement of end-users in building use-cases and developing news services. For each of these three main barriers, SocIoTal has defined three particular validation strategies.

Firstly, the lack of understanding is addressed in Meetups, introducing research questions and listening to the local stakeholders.

Secondly, the lack of involvement of citizens has been addressed in co-creation workshops with researchers. These solutions need an ethical framework to inform decision making about decision making on what kind of IoT system architectures to support.

Thirdly, the lack of trust is addressed by offering a privacy by design and secure platform that individual citizens can use to expose their own IoT devices to a community of users that they choose.

In Tips for City Authorities – How to Avoid Citizen Engagement Pitfalls, Dr. Mazlan Abbas, CEO of REDtone IOT, asks: "Many citizen engagement mobile apps (example – identifying pothole, drainage faulty traffic light, illegal parking, unattended, etc. issues) failed simply because it’s unable to sustain the popularity, usage, and continuous enhancement. Why?"

During the project's lifetime we found that all stakeholders are uncertain as there is very little to none best practice. Citizens question privacy and security, as well as added value. Companies are slow to adopt to new business models or get pushed by Over The Top players without a real strategic view. A  New Electronics survey of 187 councils from across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland by DJS Research found that many local governments across the U.K. lack the capability, leadership and budget to implement smart city projects. This comes as an increasing number of cities worldwide throw resources behind smart city projects to improve their budgets and livability. More than "80% of the councils had minimal to no engagement with smart city planning, with few assigning managers or teams to undertake smart city projects. It is evident that we need leadership to make smart cities work,” said John Fox, managing director of street lighting firm Lucy Zodion, which commissioned the study." Needed is “leadership from government to provide a clearer path to delivery and leadership from local authorities to create an over-arching strategy to suit individual cities. The report identified five key barriers to the delivery of smart city projects. They include: poor funding; poor internal prioritization among city leaders; little evidence; insufficient collaboration; and little confidence in smart projects." For example, the Smart Chicago Collaborative is working with the City of Chicago and the operators of the Array of Things urban sensing project to engage with residents broadly. They have identified five main concerns:

• Leverage existing physical infrastructure
• Engage the local data ecosystem (i.e., partner with local researchers or non-profits)
• Employ a clear data management strategy
• Address security and privacy concerns with transparency
• Turn collected data into action

Smart city projects have plenty of on-paper advantages, but city leaders are keen to remain in the good books of residents and broken promises, lack of city funds, and failed projects don’t make a good resume. Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene said at an Information Technology and Innovation Foundation event in Philadelphia that more federal investment is needed to ensure that "regardless of private sector investment, the government will be there to back projects and offer advice and pilot programs so we get best practices”

The SocIoTal toolkit is addressing these issues. The graphic toolkit has five sections: on security and the SocioTal tools, relevance, ecosystem, compliance and mega trends in smart cities.  The Stakeholder Coordinator Toolkit addresses the barriers and incentives that were identified during the projects lifetime. They are described in the yearly WP6 reports (D6.1, D6.3, and D6.4 and D6.5, to read them look here). The issues identified are strongly aligned while every City has its own areas of focus.



Wat zijn smart cities nou precies, en waar liggen eigenlijk de behoeften van een stad en haar inwoners? Van een slimme naar een wijze stad!?

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Context by William R. Morrish

Professor of Urban Ecologies
Parsons the New School for Design  School of Design Strategies

Cities of Uncertainty: Jakarta, the Urban Majority, and Inventive
Political Technologies AbdouMaliq Simone University of South Australia

"When people inhabit a city, they situate themselves and are situated through the intersections of infrastructure and technical systems, and the particular domains and modalities of occupation – settlement and work – that are configured by them. At the same time, people are also inhabited by the city, as a kind of possession, endowment, and series of conundrums. People figure themselves out through figuring arrangements of materials, of designing what is available to them in formats and positions that enable them particular vantage points and ways of doing things.

What it is possible for people to do with each other is largely a question of what it is that exists between them, and how this ‘between’ can be shaped as active points of reference, connection and anchorage. Infrastructure exerts a force – not simply in the materials and energies it avails, but also the way it attracts people, draws them in, coalesces and expends their capacities. If territory is a bundle of political technologies for measuring, administering and regulating the scope of what it is possible to do in the city, then other inventive political technologies are also at work in the making of urban life."

“Only by relocating the tools and possibilities of urban development – its infrastructure, economy and governance – in diverse assemblages of scale, subjectification, history and place and according to appropriate competencies and commitment can these potentialities be brought into view and thus be resources for transformation processes that must come.”

AbdouMaliq Simone: Cities of Uncertainty: Jakarta, the Urban Majority, and Inventive Political Technologies

Theory, Culture & Society
The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/0263276413501872
Theory Culture Society 2013 30: 243 originally published online 15 November 2013


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