Citizen roles in Resilient Smart Cities & ufficiis

Smart cities are defined as cities that use digital and communication technologies to improve the efficiency of urban services, promote sustainable development and improve the quality of life of their inhabitants.

This approach involves not only technological innovation, but also careful integration with traditional cultural and community values. A city’s true intelligence is not measured solely by its technology, but by how it is used to improve people’s lives. What characterizes these cities are their ability to collect, process and use large volumes of data in real time to efficiently manage urban resources and services; This includes traffic management, energy supply, waste treatment, public safety, and other essential services. The aim is to create a more sustainable, efficient and livable urban environment for all its inhabitants.

A people-centric smart city integrates technology into real-world problems, planning in a way that involves community feedback and engagement. Prioritizing human experiences and the common well-being is essential, both for the community and for individuals. This approach ensures the creation of safe spaces, understanding safety in broad and inclusive terms, making the city attractive and welcoming to all.

Smart cities leverage technology to improve the lives of their inhabitants, but technology should be a means to achieve the common good, not an end in itself. Technology solutions must focus on people and their needs. The term “Smart City” often seems unattainable because it focuses too much on technology and not enough on people. A holistic approach is crucial to achieving meaningful results.

The true intelligence of a city lies in how it uses technology to improve the lives of its inhabitants and foster an inclusive and cooperative community.

Are we really focusing on creating human settlements that prioritize people’s needs over purely digital aspects? The evolution towards smart cities must not neglect the complexities and diversity of human needs. Not all needs are universal, nor are all elements that we consider “fundamental” equally essential in all contexts.

What is our theory of change?

Just as Maslow provided us with a framework for understanding hierarchical human needs, we must establish high-level principles to guide our actions. These principles, like those outlined by the United Nations for development assistance, include comprehensive inclusion, human rights, gender equality, sustainability, and accountability. It is these principles that mobilize stakeholders, generate tangible commitments, and guide strategic investments. In addition, they provide a lasting framework that transcends specific goals and evolves over time, adapting to global and local changes.

Comparison with changing goals and stable principles is crucial. While goals may change over time and adapt to new circumstances, fundamental principles remain constant and offer ongoing ethical and strategic guidance. This approach is not only relevant at the individual level, as illustrated by the example of aiming for an Olympic medal versus adopting lasting health and fitness principles, but also extends to the design and management of cities. Defining high-level principles is essential to establish what it means to be a people-centred city and to provide a moral compass for urban planning.

For our cities to truly become people-centric places, we must focus on end-users: understanding their current and future needs, their changing requirements, and their aspirations. This implies a commitment to constant evolution, recognizing that the demands and expectations of citizens are dynamic and must be addressed in an agile and adaptable way. Using technology in a humanized and people-centered way involves not only identifying needs through data and analytics, but also ensuring that these technological solutions genuinely improve quality of life and promote social inclusion.

This approach not only ensures that smart cities are efficient and technologically advanced, but also that they are fair, livable, and sustainable for all their inhabitants. It is a call to integrate human and ethical principles into the urban digital revolution, ensuring that emerging technologies truly serve humanity and not just technological efficiency.

What can’t be missing in a smart city?

The common good cannot be lacking, the sense of community cannot be lacking.

How can we help each other?

Intelligence implies knowing how to use all the resources available to us, something that none of our ancestors had. We have so much more at our disposal. The key is in how we use it and in refining our sense of value.

We are not only talking about the smart city, but also about the great challenge of humanizing, making visible and objectifying the need for explicit digitalization, assuming that this is the smart city, when the smart thing must be us in the healthy use of technology. A smart city must go beyond mere technological implementation, it must aspire to be an inclusive, sustainable and community-centered environment. This involves recognizing and addressing differences between communities, respecting and integrating their unique identities.

Technology should be seen as a tool for the common good, facilitating urban life and improving the quality of life. It is essential to prevent smart cities from becoming dehumanized environments, where technology replaces human interaction and a sense of community.

Creating safe and welcoming spaces is essential. Security must be understood in broad terms, including physical, digital and emotional security. Conviviality, or the sense of community and cooperation, is a fundamental value that must be promoted and protected.

The development of Smart Cities must be an inclusive and people-centred process, using technology as a means to improve urban life. This requires a holistic approach that recognizes and addresses current and future challenges, and that values the participation and well-being of all citizens. Smart cities must not only be efficient and technologically advanced, but also humane, sustainable, and equitable.