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Creating Civic Value in Open Smart Communities

As the concept of “Open Smart Cities” has matured, complex issues are arising. These issues range from reconfiguring relationships between municipal departments to placing restrictions on how urban technology is deployed. Cities must determine who is accountable for the impact of new technology and they must ensure that the technology is maintained over time. Finding a budget line for digital assets is a challenge, as is the process of safely and effectively collecting data and managing it at scale. In short, the challenges in contemporary Open Smart City initiatives are less about technology itself, and more about the ways it is deployed, monetized, and governed. We define these as issues of “civic value.”

What is civic value? What values should guide contemporary policy-making and citybuilding? These questions are at the very center of municipal governance today, spanning sectors and communities of all sizes. This white paper does not present a single, authoritative, and final answer – instead, it offers new ways for communities to ask these questions, and to act on their answers.

A values-led approach to Open Smart Cities means constantly asking if and how technology truly benefits residents in their daily lives, and assessing to what extent all residents have access to those benefits.

This white paper was produced for the Community Solutions Network, a program of Future Cities Canada led by Evergreen, lead technical partner, Open North, and a national community of partners.

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