Importance of Community Engagement for Smart City Governance
In the previous article, we spoke about the characteristics of a successful Smart city, but what are the principles behind the strategic framework that has been shaped by community engagement to create a successful Smart city?
According to Smart Cities World and Bee Smart City, the important principles are:
- Connection and Collaboration
Giving and receiving feedback can mean so much more through constant engagements. When residents have the accessibility to freely offer their advice, give comments and opinions about the specific areas or projects happening in the city, it connects the developer of the Smart City to the residents’ needs and wants. This creates a better understanding between both parties, allowing discussion of pain points and seeking beneficial solutions together. Cities can only be improved when their officials and citizens are on the same page. Thus, successful cities have worked hard to create opportunities for their citizens to speak up and for their voices to be heard.
2. Nurturing Ideas
Collecting public feedback is an excellent method to boost participation. Some local authorities are going the extra mile to ask their citizens for solutions directly. When citizens are given the opportunity to formulate their own solutions and have the autonomy to execute those solutions, the interest in city governance will grow.
There is an increasing trend in seeking new ideas and fresh viewpoints from citizens. A recent case study showed the City of Sydney and New South Wales governments in Australia had introduced an innovative competition to invite citizens to submit their propositions in solving public space problems. The competition thrives on local talents and engagement, and the solutions proposed by the citizens can be integrated into almost any urban-related issue.
3. Trust and Transparency
Stephanie Asher, mayor of the City of Greater Geelong, mentioned that when the Smart city is built, it is important that all citizens will have the necessary skills, education, and confidence to access and utilise the new tools and technologies. She continued, “Having this framework in place helps us to keep a balance between adopting progressive technology to improve our services while also ensuring the community feels totally safe and supported.”