The 10th International Symposium "The emergence of the Smart City: stakes, challenges, practices and impacts for public governance" was held in Belval Luxembourg from 5 to 6 March 2019.
Please find here below the Topic & Focuses of this 10th edition of the International Symposium.
Intelligent cities, the promise of social, economic and environmentally-sustainable development
The term Smart City does not have one universally accepted definition, but rather characteristics that tend to bring to light its numerous aspects. However, a city can only claim this status once investments in human and social capital, traditional communication infrastructures (in particular, transport), as well as modern technologies (platform, sensors, etc.) supply sustainable economic growth and a high quality of life, with public, parapublic or private management that is well-informed by the different resources available, and organizational choices and policies legitimized by the populations. Smart cities are emerging in response to the needs of a growing urban population, where the major part of the consumption of non-renewable resources is focused. As a consequence, the smart city concept addresses urban development problems by focusing on social, economic and environmental sustainability (Vesco & Ferrero, 2015; ITU, 2014).
Nevertheless, achieving this urban “intelligence” aim seems to be a long development originating from the collective intelligence of different actors: public actors with different territorial competences, private actors from technological, creative and traditional industries, research actors and citizens, to name but a few. Smart cities are emerging in this way as single projects, where their complexity and dynamism make it necessary to take into account the local context, territorial history, their own needs, priorities and resources (Almirall & all, 2016). Therefore, there cannot be one universalist model for a smart city despite concepts of the attractiveness of an area, which are highlighted more from a competitive point of view between cities (Borsekova & Nijkamp 2018; Giffinger & all, 2010). In this way, smart cities represent both a setting and a determiner for new business models.
Whether this is at the level of social interactions or the flows of goods and persons, the city of tomorrow, whether situated in Europe or somewhere else, has a duty to change and to suggest new intelligent, connected functions with efficient organizations, with new forms of data (big, exhaustive and continuous), at the service of citizens who are more mobile, demanding and concerned about the protection of their personal data, which are, moreover, sources of value creation for smart cities themselves (Almirall & all, 2016; Meunier & all, 2017). Studies dedicated to the emergence and development of Smart Cities contribute therefore to the validation of the real challenges that justify the transformation of the representations and relations with time and space, as well as the implementation of new links between public space, private space and personal space within organizations and places of residence.
If the current concept and practices associated with smart cities have already received strong criticism, in particular, those with a techno-centred approach, nevertheless, this criticism must enable a smart city approach to thrive in the discussion on urban development that will take place in the decades to come (Rochet & Villechenon, 2015 ; Rochet, 2014 ; Greenfield & Kim, 2014), indeed, to evoke a “scientific urban management” (Vesco & Ferrero, 2015 ; Batty & all, 2012). It is a question of creating a new urban story, a reference to a set of values to strive for, as was the case with the construction of cities at the end of the 19th century. Technological progress goes hand in hand with a philosophy of urban planning. Currently predominant is an urban model inspired by Silicon Valley (Sadin, 2016). With the aim of considering the future and finding innovative and sustainable solutions, the smart city concept can only be envisaged when taking into account its interdisciplinary nature and its case studies on a European and global scale.
From now on, to comprehend a city as a whole, an interdisciplinary approach is more necessary than ever, in such a way as to tackle the dynamics of the complex systems in place. The organizers of this Symposium, LIST and LISER, embody this simultaneous use of approaches and invite the scientific community to strategically consider the governance of these innovative cities, including, in a broader sense, territories and municipalities and therefore also the question of suburban areas and the compatibility of a vision integrated with developments that extend the impact of the city in terms of the use of new technologies, social networks and their digitalization, or even connected services in urban areas, while having the obligation to guarantee well-being and social justice for its citizens. It is no longer the time to evaluate the diverse impacts of the disruption potential that the generalization of information technologies, Big Data and the Internet of Things will add to urban life, but instead to take stock, set up frameworks and more structured research programmes, in particular to enrich the current managerial and technological tools. The examination and characterization of the technological system specifically mobilized are decisive for understanding appropriation capacities, city development, actors potentially concerned or motors, as well as the level of investments and skill development. It will therefore be up to the contributors and participants of the 2019 Symposium to ensure this takes place. The aim of the thematic focuses suggested below is to highlight the interdisciplinary principles and complexity of the systems.