Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Because people act, cities can be smart: Promoting social innovation in smart-city design-tools in the Mediterranean.
Miriam Navarro Escudero, Carolina Mateo Cecilia, Begoña Serrano Lanzarote, Vera Valero Escribano

Last modified: 15-05-2018


Smart city is an innovative paradigm tackling a range of emerging problems associated with urbanization, massively understood from a technology-driven approach. Much of the focus of the smart city movement to date city authorities and other organizations deploying sensors, networks, decision support tools and data analytics to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of urban systems (like transport, utilities, etc.) is only half the story. In occasions, citizens struggle with a top-down managing city system that should help public administrators, service providers and citizens, but reports instead on personal frustration. To avoid this, an attempt to promote social innovation processes to the smart city paradigm is now taking place.

In this paper, we analyze reactions to a smart city design-tool for energy strategy plans’ definition and implementation, in the three EU most populated Mediterranean countries (Spain, France, Italy). The research is based on the ACCENT study case. Interviews show common challenges with regard to ACCENT smartness, as the needs and dangers of sharing real energy consumption data of buildings, the low willingness of some energy suppliers to offer information, the user-unfriendly interfaces for citizens, the lack of linkage among public bodies, the dispersion of data, the requirement of disseminating mechanisms to make citizens aware of the benefits of the energy renovation, or the inaccessibility to existing information on the state of buildings. These challenges resulting from ACCENT study give rise to three recommendations to foster social innovation in further Mediterranean smart city design-tools: co-responsibility, hand-in-hand co-creation and citizens’ organizational empowerment.

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