Currently viewing the tag: "co-creation"

This article was originally published on the Raconteur.net website

Daniël Termont is the mayor of Ghent and EUROCITIES president.

 

Daniël Termont, Mayor of Ghent and EUROCITIES' current president

Daniël Termont, Mayor of Ghent and EUROCITIES’ rotating president

“In Ghent, we combine our historical façades with a forward- looking vision. By 2020, I want my city to be open, inclusive, smart and child friendly. Key to this vision are our citizens – we want to build the Ghent of the future together.

Discussions around smart cities are too often driven by technology and industry. I believe cities, and their citizens, are at the core of the smart city transition. Technology is an important ingredient of course: we are looking to innovative solutions to manage our energy and transport systems better, manage, process and visualise data, and make life easier for all.

But we’re not overlooking the low-tech solutions that complement these: well-organised bike paths, for example, and vertical farming.

Technology for us is a means not an end and becoming smarter is about a whole lot more.

We need to find new ways of working together so we can make the most of everyone’s expertise. Public administrations, citizens, businesses and research institutes: we are all part of the same urban ecosystem and we all have something to offer. By pooling our resources, we can create better solutions that truly address our challenges and are owned by the entire city.

In Ghent, we have several tools to make this happen, such as the Ghent Climate Alliance, which is behind our vision of becoming climate neutral. Our Ghent Living Lab is an innovative platform where citizens, developers, researchers and businesses can co-create their city.

Smart cities rely on data, so opening up data is an important initiative for Ghent. Students and developers can use it to work on new solutions, including apps that make life easier for residents, such as a waste collection calendar and an app, ‘Parkmobile‘, to locate available parking spaces in real time.

We’ve even turned it into a competition: our annual hackathon, Apps for Ghent, invites developers to turn our open data into exciting new apps, such as Studio Dott’s PopBike (video), which enables users to calculate the best bike route and share bikes, and Ghendetta, a game that encourages users to explore city districts.

One of the challenges many cities face with opening data is protecting privacy. Citizens need to be able to access, use and manage their data, and for this they need adequate digital skills. This is a priority for Ghent as we want to make sure technology is accessible to everyone.

It is essential then that we create a level playing field. We need common and open standards and better interoperability between systems. This would open the market to more actors and would also bring down costs, and maximise the release, accessibility and usability of data, helping businesses grow.

Working together on projects is a must for testing and scaling up new solutions. Ghent is involved in several, including the Green Digital Charter, through which we commit to reducing our carbon footprint with smart ICT. We also need direct dialogue with European Union decision-makers.

With the Urban Agenda for the EU and the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities, we see new work processes that support the joining up of different levels of government and different sectors. This is a step in the right direction to address European and urban challenges together.

I am looking forward to the journey ahead and I am pleased to be sharing it with my colleagues at EUROCITIES, the network of major European cities. This is where I can bounce off ideas, discover new solutions and find ways to address shared challenges.

As a mayor, I know every corner of my city and have daily contact with citizens. This knowledge is crucial for making smart city solutions work. Working with cities means working with citizens, so by strengthening the links between EU institutions and cities, we are building a stronger Europe.

 

OpenYourCity.com

This article has been originally published on OpenYourCity.com under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved

“If I were to decipher the message that 2017 is bringing, I would say that data sharing and co-creation will certainly boost urban innovation in the forthcoming years. And that, in Zaragoza, we have some interesting tools to make it happen:

  • our smart Citizen Card, our “de facto” digital platform upon which we can build all sorts of services, from gamification to citizen participation
  • our Open Urban Lab, the co-creation lab of the city, located at the very core of Zaragoza’s flagship innovation hub “Etopia Center for Arts and Technology
  • a thriving civic and innovation ecosystem and a program “100 Ideas ZGZ” conceived to set bottom-up ideas in motion, using the city as an innovation platform

The good news started in Luxembourg. After pitching the Citizen Card in late January on the Big Data Info Days on Horizon 2020 we are overwhelmed by the number of agents from either industry and research arena that have proposed to partner with us in big data-related H2020 calls. Almost simultaneously, four groups of design students from the University of Zaragoza presented four innovative ideas for new services on the Citizen Card. They had been working on them for three months both in the classroom and in the Lab.

A week later we took a plane to Brussels: on Jan, 25th Zaragoza’s Citizen Card received the Green Digital Charter (GDC) 2016 Award on ‘Citizen participation and impact on society’. During the conference ‘Cities in Transition – the role of digital in shaping our future cities’ held in Brussels we had the opportunity to present our current and future data policy and discuss it with an engaged audience from government and academia. Take two concepts already developed in these blog’s pages: Big (open) Data, and Data Sharing.

From left to right: Daniel Sarasa, Carlos Alocen and Gerardo Lahuerta after receiving the Green Digital Charter (GDC) 2016 Award on 'Citizen participation & impact on society'

From left to right: Daniel Sarasa, Carlos Alocen and Gerardo Lahuerta after receiving the Green Digital Charter (GDC) 2016 Award on ‘Citizen participation & impact on society’, Brussels, 25 January 2017

We need European funding to materialize these and other ideas, so we’ve been working very hard with the team on several European proposals for using data to spark and guide the co-creation of new public services. We have already tested this principle within the project CITYkeys, where data has allowed us to identify gaps and opportunities for new transport services: that’s how the future network of bicycle parking spots started to be designed. A path, that of the co-creation of new public services based on data insights, that we intend to develop further.

On Feb, 6th we enrolled on a learning trip to beautiful Cascais (Portugal) to join the “Smart Life Incubator” think tank. We were ‘locked’ by the outstanding TM Forum staff alongside other city policy makers from Tokyo, Liverpool, Nice, Porto, Saint Quentin, Cascais and Utrecht. It was an intense 3-day working session focused on addressing urban challenges through innovation and cooperation between stakeholders. We dealt with problems such as mobility, talent attraction, unemployment, on-line services,… We shared strategies to bring deprived public space back to life, or to improve city response in case of catastrophe. Surprisingly, data sharing was identified as a common enabling vector for most of the challenges. The bad news is that no one seems to know how to make it happen without compromising, either legitimate organization assets or personal privacy: the relationship between big data and governments is still heavily cluttered.

So while everybody talks about co-creation, there is an astonishingly small number of succes stories out there. Most projects, like the “Co-creating responsive urban spaces” initiative in Amsterdam, are just starting.  And data sharing is something we all think should be happening (for the sake of humanity, right?) but that no one has seen yet. In my Master on City Sciences’ thesis I pointed out that there are gigantic organizational and behavioural (psychological) barriers that block the way. As more projects on co-creation start in the following years, and small scale urban data sharing examples are being built, we expect that a whole new body of knowledge about the subject will appear. This knowledge, of course, will blossom on the urban ground, since it is the natural environment where people’s ideas and big (urban) data can turn into solutions.

The story of co-creation and data sharing is just beginning. We’ll be here to write it.”

Daniel Sarasa Funes is urban innovation planner and Smart City Program Manager at Zaragoza City Council. He is co-author of Zaragoza’s digital agenda 2012-2015 “Towards a Smart Citizenship” and co-editor of OpenYourCity.com