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A tale of two cities: Comparing “smart city” approaches

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the what you do is you want it the the
is on so low everyone get even
a and this has been a long day for you all and down for us to so hopefully this will be fine enjoyable for you all so it was the best of
times it was the worst of times it was the age of wisdom and he was the age of
foolishness however this presentation
is not going to be a bargain band of Charles Dickens of copycat this presentation is not also gonna be no pushing or praising what some people are calling the force is true revolution this presentation is gonna be about so
what some people are calling the smart cities and complexity that in just 2 of those cities Toronto and London will use turned on land and in our case to make our point that we as developer and theorists and people who were leaving cities need to get away from the kind of good versus evil the innovation vs. deformation themes that are prevalent in sparsity and technology discussions that moves toward a more nuanced discussion that a complexity of surrounding us wait admit that this is not a especially novel point to make that plenty of people especially here and public and elsewhere have made this point and we trying to bring to this discussion is the specific insights we have drawn from our for user engagement of sparsity research and development in the UK in Canada and beyond yeah but before we gets all of that who are reading the we are doing long and Vanessa Thomas were too early career researchers based at Lancaster University together with the column poly menu Brueggemann we run the impractical and absurdist research project
livable cities which involves licking their views for science but separately I'm the time a Canadian computer scientists social and environmental justice activist and former public servants I ice and most of the past 4 years researching issues that intersect digital technologies climate change and public policy of also doubling in smart cities and disaster mobilities research my colleague InCo presented long is an ethnographer and design researcher originally made in China and refined in Britain her research interests has always focused on how technology is used in societies and how this change in the society that it's being used in an 1st Smart cities of the specific focus of research for the past 4 years so she has a lot of intends to bring to this presentation so as um as our disasters what is a smart city and town why should you care while you should care because our cities all around you sources development of facts the services and finding the city leaving and and also the city you're visiting it is about where defines is a located and also how the city's designed this 1 is the new sort of city in South Korea after years of
investment and development is still under construction so by this morning Republic I'm sure that you've always almost certainly have encountered a phrase must couple times that on Monday the panelists discuss the smart city in Barcelona and down relying on Tuesday were heard about a beyond sparsity and smart up the cities in both English and Deutsche gold isn't a universal definition of what a Smarter City is that everyone agrees upon the by the free smart city here in this talk that we refer to the various applications and information technology that's being used in urban development and urban management despite a lack of agreed upon definition you still general image that a sparsity renders for us it is normally a efficient technologically advanced grain and socially inclusive city because of all the features and promise the smell city are making it has drawn increasing attention from the government from industry and also the the oftentimes it appears to be a collective a very smart city projects such as transportation energy management and smart grid solutions and also pollution monitoring on these are a very basic and standard smart city package you can find in almost every single smart city when the city decided to go a bit for me and that there are other atoms atoms can adding to this such as disaster response that doubling is emphasize on the health care element live and has and also community beating elements as coming from Barcelona but with all of that sad calm sparsity concept is still decidedly ambiguous and he leaves the definition of considerable interpretation you for that 1 interpretation and goes just a little bit wrong he can appear to be the big brother it's big data which is you know can be the central control room in
rail during times or it can be the Garden Bridge in London which is quite a waste of taxpayers money the so maybe that sounds all a bit too nebulous so let me try to get a little bit more specific for you let's talk about Toronto you might know Toronto because of its former crack smoking Mayor Rob Ford or because of its association with the king of memes drink but there is so much more to Toronto it's Canada's largest city it's 1 of the most important and have economic
hubs in the country and it's 1 of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the world trying is built on stolen land letter was taken through colonialism from and it's not the people's British settlers established for your work in the late 18th century for a few hundred people and over time that grew into the greater Toronto area which is now home to more than 6 million people supporting the 6 million people requires considerable public infrastructure and services which are designed to deliver through a complex network of government consultation processes this and funding streams in Canada 3 tiers of government affects how services and infrastructure are developed in cities and towns specifically the federal provincial and municipal governments the each have financial and policy related powers over the design and delivery of infrastructures and services and what is the matter because the times different tiers of government can hold competing idealogical at and this and that alone can create a considerably complex space for urban development projects whether they're smart or not but Ontario were specific to other things were part of Republicans city inability track I'm going to briefly describe front as public transportation network and some of the attempts to make its marked so truncheons transportation workers usage depending on whose estimates use that Toronto either has the 3rd or 4th largest public transportation network in North America definitely after New York or in Mexico City and possibly after Montreal but its network includes trains trams and busses as well as bicycle infrastructure roadways and sidewalks this massive mobility
ecosystem is renowned at least within Canada for being completely and utterly unreliable and wages do in you to be trapped in a car for hours on highway for while or waiting for a bus that never seems to show up on time in whatever way you're experiencing it just never seems to run smoothly more worryingly Toronto's public transit system has been the site of racist attacks and Solaris and the equitability of its positioning accessibility around the city has been called into question by scholars and activists alike this sitting been working to address these issues and is currently trying to build a new matter aligned to help ease congestion intention up but this has proven to be a difficult and costly undertaking charges than trying to secure additional funding from the provincial and federal government of Canada but it has failed to do so thus far in part because those levels of government of using other spending pressures that extend well beyond frontal sports Of course the issue that existed for quite some time and they're certainly not the fault of any smart city initiatives
specifically but my point is that any technological intervention in these complex bases builds upon the existing socio-economic cultural and other infrastructural conditions that already are there so any smart transportation project in Toronto begins from its stolen from its position on stolen emission of the and if when they're trying to launch its 1st official government innovation digital the city strategy in 2002 of this strategy you which relied on aging legacy information systems paved the way for modernizing turned this transportation network with digital support infrastructure including smart transit cards and smart traffic management systems yeah but by 2012 charges under general called for a complete revamp of the strategies saying that it was woefully ill-equipped to suit the the city's complex means in 2013 under Rob Ford Toronto launched in Open Government by Design initiative which aim to create an accountable open and transparent organizational culture by the end of 2017 it also launched its
1st Smart City initiative in 2015 so although the government has certainly released a variety of useful data sets that these initiatives have so far fallen short of creating any in Open Government culture was in charge of but Toronto as elsewhere in Canada is starting to look to other countries for advice and guidance on how to move forward and improve our Services 1 of the places that they're looking is to London yeah yeah so on land and has been experimenting with a smart city idea for 6 or 7 years now it was back in 2011 that will let us 1st published this mass at the plant which is where you can find this that you're gonna become a smart city in 2013 March of smaland and word was set up to advise on own lives approach using digital technology to ensure Linden maintains its position as the best biggest city in the world which is arguable because I mean I mean this is clearly the best 1 I think hold on board
members who are underscored are of Iraq that makes or tackle experts who have been working near field for decades in India industry so with this strategic plan was the border with the bare with very talented acts and a very supportive motivated municipal government then like Toronto still facing some and challenging so that's on the way of getting smart 1st of all we need to navigate through 33 different ball rolls this is like in many countries that this is a map of London if you take a walk from city center Linden from samples cathedral all the way to Hyde Park depending on which route you take you might be able to walk through 3 to 4 different ball rolls stressing that walk on different if you happen to look
into different peoples that God and you will see different colored means that indicates the different borrowers have the different waste management plans however however waste and water management plan is at the very heart of sparsity Linden so they
have to navigate through all of those borrowers to make them work together and another layer of complexity comes from penetrating different layers governance so as we talked about they have the smarts land water which reports to and supported by the Mayor of London which is only 1 3rd of the authority coming from great London authority the same time there's also this department for cultural media and sports to ask me why but they are in charge of making policies of smart city which means the regulations that
affect how London both forward as smart city and the best part they had a parliamentary smart city working group which is rest and he's wherever it's folded in to oversee how smart cities moving forward in the UK and this is not the end of the story so lenders plan of becoming a smart city is supposed to be from 2011 to 2020 1 which means 2016 last year is the main point of Linda's my city plan that is we're Linden supposed to which a lot of milestones in your sparsity development however a lot has happened that year from minister level there's change of power from conservative party to labor from Boris Johnson 270 con st and also the same time that Brecht's it happened as in that year because of this change of power change of
political variance and policies different measurements of success is also changed that means how sparsity plant is continued forward and how it is evaluated is also changed correlate Maryland office continued the old plan but there are some other twist to it as well the complicity of graphs it also means they are a lot of and funding cuts potentially for that sparsity plant because currently a lot of projects in London is funded by EU money for example the sheer city project is with ofusers with Barcelona it is with this bond that means 1 breath happens no 1 knows whether there will still be part of the story or not and also the smallpox is also funded by you money then just a month's time and you UK facing another election and however that elections result out is that Lincoln had impact on how lenders can move forward as a smart city so fresh it's complicated on top of all of those administrative complications theory is also another practical level of things making cities smarter especially making Old City like lenders smart is not an easy task because by simply wiring up of Victorian urban infrastructure with ICT technology doesn't really make land smart city in 1 go never alone it's not gonna hold open happen overnight either so in order to test our technology what it works on not least start experiments wherever they can't 1 of them is the start working parts so linen has been working on this equation with this part for a while to test out the quality of management
crop from moving sensing technology which arguably if it's successful degenerate deployed in order easier parts of London and potentially has the ability to be scaled up to traffic management however as test that's parts are not perfect building a lot of parts in London parks alone do not make what Linden the Linden and the however if you know what the gonna go out and test smart technology where going to do with how we gonna do it I don't know I have no idea why do know is when we're trying to test out even the technology in parts you had a fiasco so a couple of years back when they try to 1st with sensing technology high part what happened is a little bit of a narrow that by placing a plastic boxes all the trees he can get true through by squirrels a real residents in the parts within a week so and last what I also want mention is that it's a problematic term of London yeah citizens people residents who always on about so 1 that lives near to me is the very central call to identity not every single person these England and works in London who were residents fear associate themselves with however this is determined and the sparsity plan constantly talking about the gonna engage so smart city is a very complex project involves many interested parties however from the star we discussed of the folded sparsity of working group and also the previous story that I'm Marco and
Andreas shared about Kosovo development that not every single party or interest groups who are in the smart city have the same level of influence because once had from complained a parliamentary smart city working group can be folded but we're not concerned citizens what about the critics who don't agree with this and 1 of those squirrels who just pull test by chewing through the technology so you know a hashtag it's complicated the and so as we been
working together over the past 4 years we've been we've been having long detailed debates and conversations about this and we found ourselves wondering what can we do in the face of this complexity but this question is a
bit of a trap of obviously any solution reasons offer will need to be tailored to the unique setting of the unique city that were thinking of tried to work with a more that were
discussing at but we believe that a great starting point would be for us to openly acknowledge discussed and embrace the complexity of urban spaces the world is cities are messy people are messy or at least we thing and I are willing to make that we are messy but and the reductive nature of many of our existing digital systems obfuscates the messiness in ways that had settled yet real implications In our research we have spoken with many government employees and public policy experts to raise questions and concerns about smart city development and you call for more sensitivity to the messy the complexities of urban governance but we have not necessarily seen that reflected in discussions amongst technologists on the solutions offered by tech companies perhaps the clearest sign of this is the seemingly pervasive longstanding insistence on digital system scalability every city has a uniquely complex ecosystem of actors to engage with and in many ways the concept of globally scalable technical infrastructure undermines those unique urban ecosystems perhaps the potential if woefully limited solution in which we have also been pursuing in our
careers out would be you have more policy makers and politicians come have events like the dual Republic of but which is certainly not common at all entitlements that I've been to I and more and more technologists and designers and that themselves in policy related events or in policy-making teams sees communities might help them both understand the complex political curation processes involved with their work because there are complex political curatorial decisions in both urban and digital technology development processes by
territorial development uh curatorial decisions I mean decisions about accessibility about what to include and exclude what sort of materials used what design decisions I mean in terms of their environmental and climate change related costs and so on and so on as you've heard throughout Republic of those types of decisions carry real long-term implications for the intergenerational equitability or in good ability of urban spaces experiences and labor market where we live in a decade where the next generations living for decades those places are going to be big built on the infrastructural technological and policy to related decisions for making now change doesn't always stem from large-scale double the Democratic we know true dramatic events like that or war on rather it can emerge in our daily lives through serendipity and through intentional partnerships our interpretation of Republicans theme love allowed is that it calls for us to establish partnerships to work together to build the world we wanna see and that in the complex context of smart city development means more partnerships more collaboration between and amongst digital technologists policymakers and urban designers and not just those working in traditional or corporate settings either we don't mean to suggest that we should be happy with Cuba representatives partnering with policy urban the that critical practitioners cooperative business number is a nonprofit organization should all be involved and or perhaps for those of you who just cut Sylvia witnessed key knows that we could aspire to learn from the Schengen model of makers slashed policymakers symbiosis and yes we acknowledge that this would be an enormous undertaking possibly slowing the pace of the already slow urban development cycle but as we find ourselves in the midst of severe climate change in the midst of the 6th mass extinction perhaps this lower development cycle would be value there's certainly 1 way to find out what's going on there are a number of the influence but
thank
you can work we have 5 minutes left and 1 of some question no we want any question you don't want to rush to Iraq or no just like any work that is what someone there no sort sort of so notice preferences and you we do a question that I I agree with you but rapid up potentially anyway thank you thank you thank you I think you know
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Metadata

Formal Metadata

Title A tale of two cities: Comparing “smart city” approaches
Title of Series re:publica 2017
Author Thomas, Vanessa
Wang, Ding
License CC Attribution - ShareAlike 3.0 Germany:
You are free to use, adapt and copy, distribute and transmit the work or content in adapted or unchanged form for any legal purpose as long as the work is attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor and the work or content is shared also in adapted form only under the conditions of this license.
DOI 10.5446/33089
Publisher re:publica
Release Date 2017
Language English

Content Metadata

Subject Area Information technology
Abstract Marketing materials about ‘smart cities’ seem to be everywhere, to the point that ‘smart city’ rhetoric is verging on being an invasive species. But behind the scenes, many city government employees are working to use, adapt, or implement digital systems to serve city residents best. This presentation discusses some of the organisational issues and policy challenges that public administrators encountered while deploying “smart” technologies in London, England, and Toronto, Canada.

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