important, have we heard from all the
relevant stakeholders about this? Do
stakeholder interests align or conflict?
Mechanisms to coordinate across
multiple cities, counties, and states are
even more difficult than coordinating
across silos in a single jurisdiction. Municipal budgets are tight and resource
allocation fraught. Urban and rural officials and experts often lack technical
skills. It can be difficult to evaluate costs
and benefits of smart cities technologies. Computing professionals can help,
but to understand who benefits they
must look beyond the limited points of
view of municipal officials and experts.
Smart cities must be livable cities—
or else what is the point? Enabling
multiple stakeholders to participate
in smart cities discussions is a challenge. The disadvantaged and rural
residents are often excluded and difficult to bring in, but addressing their
needs spurs innovation and magnifies
impact. Bringing them in can create
inefficiency and slow down the process, making practicality a key challenge that must be overcome. The
ACM Code of Ethics and Professional
Conduct obliges computer professionals to contribute to society and to
human well-being, giving increased
attention and priority to the less advantaged. The job is more difficult if
the disadvantaged are excluded and
the privileged included. And smart cities are just the beginning. The dream
must be extended to rural places if
technology is to improve quality of
life and support the public good. Details may vary, but rural residents face
many of the same challenges as those
in the city: connectivity to support
transport, work, study, play, economic
development, and sustainability.
Getting to both smart and livable
cities and rural areas requires partici-
patory strategies that empower mul-
tiple stakeholders in the integration of
technologies into their communities.
Higher-quality data, more democratic
decision making, more equitable pro-
vision of services, and vibrant livable
neighborhoods and rural areas might
result. Effective engagement strategy
requires working with local institu-
tions, building trust, and co-design
through which stakeholders become
partners with computing professionals
and others to design and implement
Computing professionals are expected to work toward justice. Definitions of justice vary (which is why there
are courts). The ACM Code of Ethics
requires attention to the needs of the
disadvantaged. Equity, inclusion, and
sustainability require participatory
processes for technologies that reinforce the interests of people living in
shared places. Co-designing enhances
civic engagement and improves community resilience. It might not answer
all the questions to ask, Cui bono But
it opens the door to justice.
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Susan J. Winter ( email@example.com) is Associate Dean
for Research in the College of Information Studies at the
University of Maryland, MD, USA.
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