IDP2015 (III). Smart Cities (I)

Notes from the 11th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Regulating Smart Cities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 2-3 July 2015. More notes on this event: idp2015.

Communications session: Smart Cities (I)
Chairs: Álvaro Nicolás

Open smart cities: ¿whose are the data?
Julián Valero Torrijos, Juan Ramón Robles Albero

Whose are the data gathered by some smart cities initiatives? This question is especially relevant when many public services are managed by private firms. It’s interesting because these are data that are needed to provide the service, and thus private firms do need them. But, on the other hand, these data is generated by the user and thus likely to be ownership of the citizen. How do we solve this?

Our conclusion is that most data should be regulated as usual, protecting the citizen, etc. But. In some cases, especially when it deals about the know how of the private firm and how to improve the provision of the service, in some of these cases maybe data should remain property of the private firm, as it is part of their know how and own protocols and processes.

Smart mobility, data protection and social surveillance
Alessandro Mantelero

We are moving towards a pervasive data ecosystem. Big data and the Internet of Things are having an impact on individual and collective data protection, a need for balancing conflicts of interests, and have to move from a theoretical approach to an empirical approach, as the smart mobility case. We need to address open data and risk assessment, such as the factors that increase the risk of re-identification, and the different levels of access to mobility data. Examples: the London bike-sharing case or the user-centric approach adopted in the Piedmont case.

In the cases above, many data and at many levels is gathered, including personal information and travel information. Data protection is applied by design, both at the collection, storage and access and analysis of the datasets.

Conclusions: proportionality, risk-assessment, empower the citizen.

Urban governance and smart cities. The case of Barcelona
Mariona Tomàs Fornés

Since the end 0f 1980s we are facing a new concept of governance. Global governance is a process of coordination of actors, social groups, institutions to reach certain goals that have been debated and defined collectively. It implies a change in decision-making and policy-making. It includes different geographical scales, new public and private actors, etc. The hypothesis of this work is that the development of the smart city implies a shift towards the pro-growth model.

Goals for the case of the smarty city in Barcelona: based on efficiency, sustainability and a mix of several projects of many kinds put together under the umbrella of ‘smart cities’. Many of these projects already existed and the city council just rephrases them under this common umbrella.

The city council will transform the city into a urban lab so that the city (and the citizen) can be used as a lab by technological firms so that they can test initiatives, devices, etc.

How has the urban governance of Barcelona changed after their involvement in smart city projects? The participation of the private sector in financing urban projects has definitely increased, as has been the scheduling of big international events and culture as a development strategy. Citizen participation still is important, but somehow it seems that the usual spaces of participation have not been integrated with other initiatives and spaces more related to the smart city strategy. On the other hand, there is less strategic planning and less new institutions to lead new projects: private firms do not seem to be interested in strategic planning and new institutions have been replaced by ad hoc created public-private partnerships.

Barcelona is a typical case of conceiving the smart city within the principles of the entrepreneurial city: competitiveness, growth policies, use of public-private partnerships.

Pierre (1999) proposes different models of urban governance:

  • Managerial
  • Participative.
  • Pro-growth.
  • Redistributive.


11th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2015)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2015) “IDP2015 (III). Smart Cities (I)” In ICTlogy, #142, July 2015. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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