Last stories on 'Democracy and participation'
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Bart Gorynski
last week
Bart Gorynski
Smartivist | @bee smart city

Over the past seven years, the smart city concept has changed fundamentally in terms of the approaches that cities or communities have chosen for urban transformation. Driven by technology providers in the early years, governments as leaders of the smart city movement have later understood that technology is “only” the enabler for reaching governmental, economic and societal goals. Today, smart city strategies still consider technology as an enabler, but governments have learned that top-down initiatives or a “master planned” approach are not the determinants of success. Drivers for success are collaborative and participative citizen-/human-centric approaches. If a city or community wants to become smarter, it should take the needs and problems of its customers – citizens, businesses, workforce/commuters, entrepreneurs, academia and non-profit organizations – into account.

At bee smart city, we strongly believe that it is time for a new paradigm or evolutionary stage of the smart city. We lay out our arguments and practical perspective in the following paragraphs, leading you through the following topics:

1. Existing generations of smart cities
2. Call for a new paradigm of the smart city
3. The human element: rise of the “smartivist”

Bart Gorynski
2 weeks ago
Bart Gorynski
Smartivist | @bee smart city

Driven by urban strategists, scholars, companies and other institutions, we witness a constant debate on what a smart city is. There are so many existing definitions and synonyms such as "connected city", "resilient city", "senseable city", "intelligent community", "digital city", "digital community" or even "smart village". This debate poses the question on what exactly smart cities stand for.

Creating a unique identity and vision
While it is generally accepted that there are different generations of smart cities (as discussed in "TOWARDS A NEW PARADIGM OF THE SMART CITY"), we believe it is important for each city or community to create a unique identity of their smart city or smart community vision.

This identity represents a "mission statement" or "development model" along different indicators or topics. It should be based on the goals that a city or community has derived from current challenges and from opportunities that it wants to grasp in the foreseeable future. More:

LABCITIES
last month
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

The civic tech ecosystem is playing an important role in the future of democracy in the Internet era. We are currently envisioning a shift from a traditional world centered around institutions, to a new model of society more citizen-centric. Civic tech has a major role to play in that, and is included in the civic toolbox of all the actors, from citizens and organizations to governments.

Looking back at the last five years, the civic tech ecosystem has been characterized by a bubble of early overexcitement, that led to a refocus of the main investors and enablers on smaller portfolios with higher chances of success. In the end, building a civic business is different from in other sectors in terms of go-to-market strategy, speed of operation, fundraising and partners to interact with.

Both entrepreneurs and enablers are now developing more sustainable civic tech initiatives while the ecosystem is restructuring and stabilizing. The various possible models are starting to generalize, and the model is about finding the balance between independence, impact, and sustainability.

We are currently at the edge of a Third Act for Civic Tech. The ecosystem is has finished its early phases and now has to gain in maturity. But a big problem remain: it is a fragmented ecosystem in terms of projects, investments, and infrastructure disabling the opportunities of replication and scale.

Pieterjan Blondeel
last month
Pieterjan Blondeel
Head of Urban Operations at Joyn Belgium nv

Nowadays everything is smart. Your car, your phone and even your tootbrush. And you are also living in a city that becomes smarter by the day. They are smart and all talk to each other thanks to The Internet of Things.

Here is the problem with that: everything is getting smart but it does not mean everyone is getting smart(er).

Not everyone has a smartphone, not everyone knows how to access the internet and some of us don’t know how to drive. That’s nothing to be ashamed off. Not at all.

But the truth is that you are missing a lot of what’s happening. You are looking at a disprutive movement and have no clue what it is about. You can’t benefit the advantages. That’s not fair.

Giovanni Silva
3 months ago
Giovanni Silva
Smart City Expert

The Moscow government have announced a pilot project to use a blockchain-based e-voting system to allow citizens to have their say on city management decisions and urban transformation.

The voting system, called Active Citizen, aims to take advantage of the fact that 72% of the city’s population currently use smartphones and virtually the entire area is covered by 4G and broadband networks.

The pilot will be based on an Ethereum smart contracts based platform. It is hoped that every Muscovite will be able to become nodes in a sprawling, city-wide network that will be also be record of all votes. Another feature will allow citizens to count the votes up and verify the authenticity of results in real-time.

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