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The importance of people-centred smart cities

While smart cities aim to improve the places where people live, all too often this comes in the form of top-down innovation that either fails to capture the public imagination or leads to citizens rejecting the innovations.

Traditionally, smart cities have emphasised the significance of hardware such as the Internet of Things, ‘big data’ and advanced computing. Top-down innovation is important; however, it often fails to take the needs of the citizens into consideration and so may not serve their best interests.

Smart cities aren’t about the technology or infrastructure; infrastructure is the requirement of citizens, and technology is the enabler. Citizens are the main component of cities. For smart cities to reach their full potential, they need to focus on the citizens living in them, not just the technology.

By using a people-centred approach, solutions will be created with an in-depth understanding of a city’s problems according to its citizens, businesses and visitors. Many cities use citizens to help gather some of the data used in smart cities, however the concept of people-centred smart cities goes further than thinking of the citizen as a source of data, but utilising them as a source for ideas.

People-centred smart cities can only be planned and developed when citizens have their views in front of their government as to how they want their cities to function in a smarter way. Cities need to make sure that they are correctly identifying the pain points their constituents experience on a daily basis, gathering evidence to make recommendations to policymakers.

Cities have always consulted the public through meetings, exhibitions or surveys. However, the numbers reached have generally been small and unrepresentative of the overall community. When citizens envision a smart city along with the government, implementation of new technologies will be more impactful.

It is suggested that a smart city can only be considered a success when it is accepted by members of the public, as the core purpose of a smart city is a city that is built for the people. Engaging members of the public early in the process can help eliminate any backlash when the smart city initiatives are implemented.

  

Pinacl is a market leader in Digital Transformation and is currently working with a number of Councils and Housing Associations who are keen to trial and adopt this new technology, recognising the potential for a rapid Return on Investment from Pinacl’s IoT solutions.

If you would like more information or would like to discuss a tailored IoT solution to suit your requirements, then contact us today on 01745 535300 or email enquiries@pinaclsolutions.com

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