Smart City or Smart Citizens? The Barcelona Case
16 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2015 Last revised: 8 Nov 2015
Date Written: March 26, 2015
In recent years, the term “Smart City” has attracted a lot of attention from policy-makers, business leaders and citizenship in general. Although there is not a unique definition of what a Smart City is, it is generally accepted that “smart” urban policies refer to local governments’ initiatives that use information and communication technologies in order to increase the quality of life of their inhabitants while contributing to a sustainable development. So far, “Smart City” approaches have generally been related to top-down processes of technology diffusion. This article intends to have a broader view on “smart” initiatives to analyze both top-down and bottom up dynamics in a Smart City. We argue that these two perspectives are complementary and its combination can reinforce the collaboration between different city stakeholders. Top-down and bottom up initiatives are not opposed forces but, on the contrary, can have a synergistic effect on the innovation capacity of the city. Both perspectives are illustrated by providing examples of different “smart” aspects in the city of Barcelona: smart districts, open collaborative spaces, infrastructures and open data.
Keywords: Smart city, smart citizens, smart districts, open collaborative spaces, open data, top-down, bottom up
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