Smart City: Too political objectives can be the source of spectacular failures

End of May, Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, presented at the Paris City Council a plan to make his city a “Smart City 2020” (Sic).

“The explosive growth of digital technology opens new perspectives in the field of mobility, energy, production and consumption, the pooling of uses, access to public services, political participation. The economy of sharing and collective intelligence is needed and leads cities to change the paradigm […]. Paris has everything to support this change ”

This quote from the mayor of Paris focuses on purely technological observations. Certainly, recent technological developments, including those related to the Internet of Things, allow and impose at the same time to redesign our cities.

But the paradigm shift in question is not technological: it is at the service of citizens and of the community; it therefore aims to improve the urban quality of life and takes into account individual and collective aspirations of health, time saving, comfort of life, environmental protection, welfare, integration and has to accompany social changes of the residents. The technology should remain an enabler of the desired changes.

A Smart City can only be successfully if conceived as part of a vision and of a clear policy. Then, the deployment of a technological infrastructure is neither the longest stage nor the one that produces the most results.

The changes proposed to the citizens must be accepted. For this, a process of sharing, co-construction of the Smart City needs to be held with the different corpus and bodies of the city. How can we claim to conclude this complete process in 5 years?

Whatever the reason the press releases of the mayor of Paris, to present an evolutionary approach towards a Smart City as a technocratic approach, ignoring the citizen, is likely to give immediately the project a negative image, which must then fight.

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