Tech is nice, however don’t overlook the individuals

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This article was initially revealed by Jem McKenna-Percy on Cities Today, the main information platform on city mobility and innovation, reaching a world viewers of metropolis leaders. For the newest updates observe Cities Today on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, or join Cities Today News.

One technique to allow evidence-based decision-making by cities is to combine bodily and digital city infrastructure and establish utilization patterns and rising tendencies. However, as cities grow to be more and more digitized, as extra applied sciences are built-in and extra information is gathered, the best way this course of is managed turns into of accelerating significance.

The use of city information requires coordinated considering. Over the previous 5 years, a consortium of metropolis authorities, companies, and educational companions have examined a variety of good applied sciences in cities throughout Europe, integrating a variety of e-mobility options, deep power constructing retrofits, good avenue lighting, and sustainable power administration techniques, underpinned by city information platforms. This work, a part of the Sharing Cities program, was formed by partaking communities alongside the best way, informing them about what was taking place in every metropolis, permitting them to share their challenges with metropolis managers and repair designers. As a end result, the options had been tailor-made and of higher worth.

However, usually, the good cities market stays largely targeted on the ‘solution’ with out sufficiently contemplating the demand, and what it’s that cities and communities really want.

In many cases pre-existing technological options are being retrofitted to a metropolis’s wants, typically resulting in an absence of public belief in or engagement with the options proposed.

In flip, cities want to enhance how they specific their must {the marketplace}, for instance, by defining use circumstances – the precise conditions during which a services or products may probably be used to deal with a problem. Fortunately, many use circumstances are frequent to most cities so by documenting and sharing experiences this course of may be accelerated and standardized.


The advantages of good, related infrastructure are actual and have been confirmed. When a number of information sources come collectively in a single place, for instance by the London Datastore, it could grow to be a robust software for metropolis planners. In Greenwich, it has been demonstrated {that a} mixture of various electrical mobility options – corresponding to electrical autos (EV), e-bikes, EV charging, good parking, and good lamp posts – can work collectively to create a real good metropolis mannequin, with information fused from totally different gadgets and sensors to supply worthwhile insights for policymakers.

Cities can construct on this mannequin to deliver collectively information from totally different domains, corresponding to visitors, air high quality, public lighting, buildings’ power, and parking, amongst others. Our latest playbook on smart street infrastructure demonstrates the joint affect of mixing a number of good applied sciences on carbon reductions, service supply, and enterprise fashions, and is offered to any metropolis within the means of rolling out Internet of Things (IoT) options at a district or city-wide degree.

The adoption of good infrastructure must be managed fastidiously and transparently. Engaging the local people in selections about information assortment and using information insights is paramount to the success of pilot tasks and their potential for scale. In doing so, cities can acquire a extra granular understanding of native contexts and due to this fact pinpoint upfront the precise areas and points good know-how will help to deal with.

In Sharing Cities we’ve used a variety of citizen -centric strategies to allow higher collaboration between communities and stakeholders, from co-design workshops to consumer journey mapping, to assist us perceive how totally different teams of individuals would possibly work together with several types of applied sciences. We’ve additionally developed a digital neighborhood engagement platform, the Digital Social Market – an app designed to encourage conduct change and environmentally acutely aware selections utilizing peer-to-peer incentives and rewards.

This design strategy – most crucially, led by wants and pushed by outcomes – has delivered substantial advantages to our demonstrator districts, not solely in exceeding our environmental targets, however extra importantly in creating options which are adopted by the local people and are constructed to final.


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Published March 5, 2021 — 16:00 UTC

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