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Mila Gascó-Hernandez ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is
the Associate Research Director of the Center for
Technology in Government and a research associate
professor in the Department of Public Administration
and Policy at Rockefeller College at the University at
Albany, Albany, NY, USA.
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mainly businesses and research centers and universities, to pursue what
it thought was best. However, ordinary
citizens did not have a say nor did they
understand the smart-city concept.
The city’s aim was to become smarter
for the benefit of its citizens but without including or educating them.
What lessons can Barcelona teach
other public managers and politicians? My research found that management and organization, governance, people, and communities are
especially important dimensions
when planning a smart-city initiative.
On one hand, Barcelona’s experience
shows that real projects matter but
that public image and marketing are
also important. Barcelona’s smart-city marketing strategy has indeed
proved even more successful than
the city’s “real” strategy. Clear vision
and strategy are also crucial. On the
other hand, a smart city’s sustainability
depends on sharing the vision and goals
with key stakeholders who might end
up being responsible for continuing
work begun by others. A smart city is
not just another technological project
but long-term urban transformation
defining the type of city the public
wants to live in, a decision that cannot
be changed with each new election.
Finally, no smart city can involve its
citizens only as recipients of its interventions but include them as partners
deciding the type of city they want to
live in when designing, implementing,
and evaluating related projects.
No matter how advanced a city is
technologically, what drives smartness
is the capacity of public organizations
and public servants to plan, implement, and assess a strategy, as well as
engage citizens and other stakeholders in its development. From a practical point of view, this entails developing a city model co-conceptualized
and co-implemented with ordinary
citizens and other stakeholders.
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2. Albrechts, L. Shifts in strategic spatial planning?
Some evidence from Europe and Australia.
Environment and Planning A 38, 6 (2006),
3. Castells, M. and Ollé, E. El Model Barcelona II:
L’Ajuntament de Barcelona a la Societat Xarxa.
Watch the author discuss
her work in this exclusive
No smart city can
involve its citizens
only as recipients
of its interventions
but include them as
the type of city
they want to live
in when designing,