In maart van dit jaar was ik een van de sprekers op de Future Everything Summit in Manchester. Het Britse blog Sustain schreef een mooie samenvatting van de discussie over smart cities die op de conferentie ontstond.

Martijn de Waal from UrbanIxD – a European research program working in the domain of technologically augmented, data-rich urban environments – notes that in a lot of the technology company literature on smart cities, their inhabitants are “mainly addressed as consumers rather than as citizens” and it is this visioning process that could ultimately lead to smart city failure.

“The usual vision is this: the city will start to collect data about everything we do and that data can then be used to make cities smarter or more efficient,” says de Waal. “The smart technology will control the city’s infrastructure, buildings, roads or safety. They call it ‘smart’ and ‘connected communities’ – but if you ask them what they mean by ‘communities’ it shows they have very much a business approach. They will tell you that they have created these data platforms on which all kinds of companies and their services can build upon and the lives of people will be better and we will have economic growth, more jobs and thus will make the community a better place.

“There is some truth to that of course, but it’s also a bit of a limited view. Yes, the city is collecting all this data – or at least a handful of companies are – and they’re allowing businesses to build services on top of that and some of those services may be handy – but what if you want to do something else, something that’s not provided by the companies themselves? If a group of citizens, for example, want to use that data to organise an action group against environmental pollution in their city the answer you get is not quite clear. At the moment it seems that the data platform is a closed platform and will be used for businesses to build services on top of them.”

Lees het hele artikel.