In order to improve the efficiency, accessibility and quality of public services, smart cities require the feedback of smart citizens. Existing e-government and e-inclusion initiatives have proven, though, that not everyone is included in this feedback loop yet: the digital divide continues to exist, with a considerable amount of people not having access to (interactive) Internet services.
SMARTiP, a European research project, investigated innovative ways for citizens and public service providers to co-create, test and exchange information about new urban services and technologies.
A series of pilot projects was focused on, covering 3 thematic areas:
- Smart engagement: similar to the ZWERM project, a game format was used to (re-)activate and consolidate cities’ social fabric – stimulating people to get to know other people in their neighbourhood
- Smart environments: with citizens measuring, reporting and supporting actions in the field of waste management, air quality and urban planning
- Smart mobility: with citizens providing data about their usage of private and public means of transportation, and using those data to improve mobility in the city
The pilot projects acted as catalysts to stimulate citizen engagement, i.e. turning citizens into active generators of content and applications, and getting them better informed about - and involved in - the Internet-enabled services that are offered in their ‘smart’ cities.