Smart and inclusive cities

A smart phone and wifi icons sit over a background picture of a cityscape.The term “Smart Cities” conjures up ideas of good urban planning linking with Internet and communications technology. But how can it be smart if it is not also accessible and inclusive for everyone?

The European Union is taking these issues seriously and has funded research to look into these challenges. Inclusive and Accessible SMART City for All looks at the challenges, particularly in including vulnerable populations. There are related publications in this collection in Lopes N. (eds) Smart Governance for Cities: Perspectives and Experiences.  You will need institutional access for a free read. Or you can request a copy from the author via ResearchGate. 

Graphic showing silhouetted city outline showing links to homes, factories, offices, transport and other city servicesAimi Hamraie writes in a magazine about a new breed of accessibility apps that can make life easier, but they can also make it more difficult. “Nothing About Us Without Us” is great for political purposes, but maybe not so good when it comes to mainstreaming goods and services. There is a plethora of apps to help with navigation and destination selection, but these don’t turn steps into ramps, or garbage bins into seating. Much is covered in this comprehensive article.

Also see the Smart Cities for All Toolkit which covers the issues and the solutions.