Smart cities: Tech is great, but don’t forget the people

Polestar accelerates the shift to sustainable mobility, by making electric driving irresistible.

One way to enable evidence-based decision-making by cities is to integrate physical and digital urban infrastructure and identify usage patterns and emerging trends. However, as cities become increasingly digitized, as more technologies are integrated and more data is gathered, the way this process is managed becomes of increasing importance.

However, in general, the smart cities market remains largely focused on the ‘solution’ without sufficiently considering the demand, and what it is that cities and communities actually need.

In many instances pre-existing technological solutions are being retrofitted to a city’s needs, often leading to a lack of public trust in or engagement with the solutions proposed.

In turn, cities need to improve how they express their needs to the marketplace, for example, by defining use cases – the specific situations in which a product or service could potentially be used to address an issue. Fortunately, many use cases are common to most cities so by documenting and sharing experiences this process can be accelerated and standardized.


The benefits of smart, connected infrastructure are real and have been proven.When multiple data sources come together in one place, for example through the London Datastore, it can become a powerful tool for city planners. In Greenwich, it has been demonstrated that a combination of different electric mobility solutions – such as electric vehicles (EV), e-bikes, EV charging, smart parking, and smart lamp posts – can work together to create a true smart city model, with data fused from different devices and sensors to provide valuable insights for policymakers.

In Sharing Cities we’ve used a range of citizen -centric methods to enable greater collaboration between communities and stakeholders, from co-design workshops to user journey mapping, to help us understand how different groups of people might interact with different types of technologies. We’ve also developed a digital community engagement platform, the Digital Social Market – an app designed to encourage behavior change and environmentally conscious choices using peer-to-peer incentives and rewards.

This design approach – most crucially, led by needs and driven by outcomes – has delivered substantial benefits to our demonstrator districts, not only in exceeding our environmental targets, but more importantly in creating solutions that are adopted by the local community and are built to last.

Published March 5, 2021 – 16:00 UTC

March 5, 2021 – 16:00 UTC

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Written by restart1


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