Smart and inclusive cities

A smart phone and wifi icons sit over a background picture of a cityscape.Smart cities is a term for the 21st Century. Technology and innovation are at the forefront of thinking in design. But will smart cities also be accessible and universally designed? This should be an underpinning concept if we are to call our cities smart in the future. 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.

Abstract: Since 2008, the European Union has been facing the economic crisis and many cities need to rethink their current model of socio-economic development in order to meet new challenges—social inclusion and city liveability. Modern cities are adopting smart city concepts all over the world in order to adapt to new emerging technological innovations. To become a smart city is the challenge of the twenty-first century. Smart cities promise the age of innovative urban planning driven by smart technologies that will make cities safer, cleaner, more economical and above all more efficient. However, making our cities not only smart but also more inclusive and accessible will be increasingly important in the following decades. Urban demographic changes require new approaches in urban planning and accessible smart cities represent a promising future. That naturally requires to address different social groups living there in both global and local smart city policies. However, the most vulnerable of them—people with special needs—are not always considered in mainstream policies and therefore cities are urged to rethink their urban agendas with greater focus on social inclusion and accessibility across all development actions. This chapter examines requirements of people with special needs on the quality of urban space for sustainable urban development. The chapter highlights why it is necessary to shift the urban development towards concepts that are aware of the specific needs of the whole population—smart cities for all.