Citizens engagement at the heart of an innovative urban development: The smart city approach of Barcelona

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Submission Summary
With the aim to improve the quality of life in cities, the implementation and integration of the ICT technology as an infrastructure for the vital urban services basically implies the smart city idea. Governments today, as they are in pursuit of a sustainable development in the urban environment, are interested in the smart city implementations where especially the local governments play the crucial role in determining local needs and potentials before deciding on bringing a new technology and related implementations to the initial region. The local governments are not only effective on analyzing the requirements and strengths of the region, but they also play a crucial role in engaging the citizens in the smart urban environment within their community. Cities and governments that are already aware of the fact that that citizens in a smart city are not only the users and consumers of the infrastructure, could be successful in their implementations by bringing their communities beyond a user level with engagement at different levels. One of those prospering examples is the city of Barcelona. With their approach that takes the citizens at the heart of their smart interventions, they are able to maintain and further develop smartness in the city contributing to the quality of life. In 2014, Barcelona was assigned as the iCapital of Europe, by the European Commission, because of their policies regarding urban planning that integrates citizens with the public and private bodies, while creating an innovative urban environment. In this paper, Barcelona’s complementary approach centering people at the heart will be discussed by taking into consideration their smart city initiatives addressing to the citizen engagement such as the smart districts, open collaborative spaces, innovation labs and similar concepts. Besides their structural features, the focus will be on their effectiveness and the level of comprehensiveness. The reason behind the success of Barcelona as a smart city depends highly upon their effort on that holistic approach bringing together the integration of the systems and citizens, paving the way of sustainability. Thus, analyzing the applications in terms of the initiatives for citizen engagement in the innovative environment of Barcelona with a critical approach will contribute on the upcoming attempts of innovative and smart urban environments. Keywords: smart city, smart citizens, community engagement, smart districts, urban innovation lab, open data
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3: Smartness and development. Al-Souq: innovating for performance and management
Research Assistant / Master's Student at City Planning Masters Programme
Middle East Technical University

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