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Inclusive Smart Cities: a European Manifesto on Citizen Engagement

Our Ambition

With our partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, we declare our commitment to create and foster accessible urban services for citizens in order to improve the quality of life of all citizens and contribute to sustainable cities and a liveable environment.

Many solutions and projects are already in place and under implementation. An essential element for successful outcomes of smart city projects, is to start from people by focussing on citizen needs, embracing citizen-centric design and the search for an integral quality of life. Technology can offer new creative solutions but it should always remain a means to an end at the service of citizens.

The Action Cluster on Citizen Focus aims to explore ways to promote engagement of citizens and communities in the design and co-creation of solutions. 

We want to work together and support
the EIP SCC’s Citizen Focus Action Cluster!

Our Commitment to Action

We, the signatories of the Inclusive Smart Cities Manifesto, commit ourselves to:

  • Exchanging experiences on effective and replicable best practices
  • Collaborating with the Citizen Focus Action Cluster on knowledge sharing and disseminating viable solutions and successful good practices for replication and scale up
  • Actively engaging citizens from the start both in urban innovation decision making processes and when designing smart cities solutions
  • Implementing citizen-centric designed solutions
  • Leveraging on interconnections between big and small cities, urban and rural communities

Through this initiative, we will collaborate on the following activities:

  • To raise citizens' awareness of the potential advantages and benefits of smart city projects (smart city literacy), to enhance digital literacy at all levels, and to create incentives and rewards for citizens and communities for their continuous engagement.
  • Leadership in citizen engagement. In the design of smart cities solutions, it is crucial to use the appropriate means to engage and empower population groups difficult to reach such as people experiencing poverty and/or social exclusion, younger and older people, migrants, people with disabilities, and aim at gender balance in participation and engagement. Creative industries and the arts can be further exploited as means to promote dialogue and civic participation. In addition, city officials and urban experts should be trained to conduct the meaningful and ethical engagement of citizens.
  • Develop and exploit new and existing collaborative models: co-creation, co-design and co-production of solutions by citizens. Develop a multi stakeholder co-creation and co-production platform, using appropriate collaborative technologies and leveraging on existing digital social innovations. Try innovative ways to implement smart city concepts in impoverished neighbourhoods, where solidarity and distribution of resources are of particular importance.
  • Improve procurement and assessment procedures. Implement procurement mechanisms that include citizens' involvement both at the specification and implementation level, while assuring that the final responsibility for providing basic services remains with elected public authorities.  Citizen engagement is critical to ensuring the continuity of a project regardless of political changes, and a framework for continuous assessment and iteration based on citizen feedback should be developed.
  • Promote the use of open data and/or an appropriate access to data by citizens, developers, start-ups and engaging citizens in the evaluation of urban policies by applying Open Government practices integrating feedback loops to renew and improve services. Ensure privacy by design. Trust is paramount to the adoption of smart city solutions which must fully respect individual freedom and the right to privacy by integrating the concepts of privacy by design including citizen consent in smart cities projects.  In particular, privacy of data regulations should be thoroughly developed, regularly updated and well disseminated.
  • Promote open innovation and open science to foster smart citizens.  Make the involvement of citizens an important factor in research and innovation projects (such as science with and for society, responsible research and innovation, gender and diversity mainstreaming in innovation and research) and promote it through a citizen science- based approach. Actively support the building of regional innovation ecosystems, foster quadruple helix cooperation (among city-regions/universities/business and civil society organisations) and highlight the importance of people-centred design. Promote the practice of regional clusters linked to rural surroundings, building on entrepreneurship, replicable concepts and peer learning, and seeking collaboration with other clusters and initiatives.

We are convinced that this collaboration will help to provide greater transparency, more sustainable and responsible urban innovations, and therefore more inclusive cities. It will benefit the quality and buy-in of smart cities solutions. It will also generate empowered, engaged and ‘smart’ citizens who will contribute positively towards their city, municipality, region and community. 

Download here

The Manifesto was officially launched during the Conference:
November, 23rd 2016
Dutch Permanent Representation, Avenue de Cortenbergh 4-10, 1040 Brussels

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