lunes, 23 de septiembre de 2013

Smart City Exhibition Bologna 2013. Smart communities and sharing: innovative models of participatory urban resource management

Next October the 17th I will be speaking at Smart City Exhibition, to be held in Bologna (Italy), from 16th to 18th. As a member of the Steering Committee, It has been a pleasure to contribute somehow to the preparations, including that first meeting in May during Forum PA, when I also had the chance to share some ideas about adaptive urbanism as a way to foster urban creativity.

This time I will be joining the conference hosted by My Neighbourhood european project titled Sustaining human Smart City: sharing, collaboration, community-based Innovation, which aims at understanding the role of citizens in smart cities:

For sure, the dominant approach to Smart City development is centred on large scale urban deployment of sophisticated digital solutions, turning “non intelligent” into “smart” infrastructures according to the logic of ubiquitous computing. However, a different vision has been launched during the Forum PA 2013 event held last May in Rome with the Human Smart Cities Manifesto.

It sounds familiar to the kind of ideas I am addressing on this topic.

I will be particularly involved in the session Smart communities and sharing: innovative models of participatory urban resource management, and I am now preparing some ideas to raise on sharing cities, the trends that are fostering the sharing movement and especially some questions about where are we heading regarding civic engagement and collaborative processes:

Cities are special contexts where people – the citizens – formulate their daily needs and wishes: they are arenas for the mediation of complex actions, in which collaboration among public and private stakeholders is more and more oriented to fulfilling those needs and wishes rather than to improve market positioning. The need for a revision of current economic models has emerged since long time and some changes are already evident in urban realities where the unmet needs - due to scarcity of resources - are becoming drivers of creative solutions, capable of suggesting new visions of services.
Those solutions, as creative answers generated in dependence of frugal resources, even technological resources, are making some new trends emerge that strengthen and substantiate the “humanistic” dimension of Smart Cities: cities being able to respond to citizens' needs not just by “sensing” (capillary digitalization and diffusion of computational intelligence in all urban environments, spaces and artefacts), rather by enabling citizens to be protagonists of the “city making” process. A process that, even thanks to ICT, allows activating innovative community partnerships including public and private stakeholders. These are examples of true community-based innovation, socio-technical infrastructuring for the production of collaborative solutions.

It is a challenging topic to me, as I do not feel really comfortable with certain services and underlying business models attached to the broadest idea of the sharing economy. However, at the same time, it is obviously a trend reshaping social behaviours, community engagement processes and even industries of different sector, but I feel there is a need to set a precautionary principle here -yes, I always use this trick to go beyond the surface- to avoid these practices be co-opted by other trends (for instance, Tom Slee on Why The Sharing Economy Isn’t hits the nail on the head. This way, I hope my presentation is not only a bunch of experiences, but it also helps raise some questions for the following debate, after a round of italian experiences.

See you there if you are attending the conference and don´t forget to drop me a line if you want to meet, take a coffee or share a chat.

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