The importance of cities has been dramatically growing due to various reasons; first, because of rising number of population living in cities. In fact, UN predicts that 68% of the world population would live in urban areas by 2050 (UN, 2018). Second, because of their concentrated economic activities. Indeed, more than 80% of global GDP is generated in cities (World Bank, 2019) and urbanization has contributed to economic growth through increasing productivity. Third, however, they are vulnerable to natural disaster. Extreme weather events are projected to become more frequent and intense and are among the key risks of global warming that will pose the greatest threat to humans (IPCC, 2014). These events cause much bigger impact in cities, where population densities are higher and where vulnerable population is concentrated. While these disasters affect everyone, there is growing evidences that it poses specific risks for vulnerable population in urban areas (HelpAge, 2015). While all of the risks of disasters require prevention and assistance by governments at national, regional and local levels during crisis, solutions could also be found through co-production among public and private sectors, civil society, and affected population itself.
Cities have attracted technological, especially digital investment, because of the same reasons above mentioned, and numerous smart cities have been created in the world. Smart cities first aimed to solve problems related to energy, then traffic, congestion, and pollution, finally and more recently, public services, quality of life, sustainability and resilience. Many projects involve various cutting-edge technologies; however, they cannot be realised without the active participation of the citizens and the civil society. Technologies adopted to the territories need to be regulated by the government and accepted by the citizens. This presentation aims to classify smart cities and analyse their potential and limitations, highlighting the dichotomy between technology and society.
Prof. Dr. Hiroko KUDO is full professor of public policy and management at the Faculty of Law, Chuo University. She has been visiting professor at many European universities, and was visiting research fellow at Economic and Social Research Institute of the Cabinet Office and at the Policy Research Institute of the Ministry of Finance, Japanese Government.
Her main research topics include: co-production in public service delivery; Smart City; e-Government and digitalisation of public administration.
Her works include: “How are Citizens Involved in Smart Cities?: Analysing citizen participation in Japanese “Smart Communities”” (with B. Granier), Information Polity, Vol.21, no.1, (2016) and “Death of “Open Data”?: How Open Data has been realising and/or not realising Open Government”, in Proceedings of the Central and Eastern European eDemoacry and eGovernment Days 2019, Austrian Computer Society, (2019).