Cities face many challenges ranging from pollution, congestion, traffic among others. Most of these challenges are faced by citizens and are caused by the citizens. This puts the citizens at the center of these challenges and their solutions. The solutions to most challenges faced by our cities lie at the hands of the citizens. Smart cities can be made by bringing citizens together and involving them in designing the smart cities. City authorities can involve its citizens in designing smart cities by making the citizens aware of the challenges facing them and collecting their ideas on how the challenges can be addressed.
CO-CREATING SMART CITIES WITH CITIZENS
More than 50% of the global population are living in cities. It is predicted that by 2050, 75% of the global population will be living in cities. Rapid population growth in our cities brings a lot of challenges like pollution, unemployment and congestion. cities must reinvent themselves in order to address these challenges. The best way to tackle these challenges is to co-create the smart cities with the citizens.
Engaging citizens from the beginning
In order to make the co-creation of smart cities successful, citizens should be involved from the beginning of the development process. Citizens should give their ideas and views concerning initiatives that best solve their challenges. The city authorities should create a conducive environment for citizens to collaborate among themselves and with other stakeholders in co-creating smart cities.
How to engage citizens in designing smart cities
1. Online Platforms
Online platforms e.g. websites and mobile applications are a good way for citizens to share their ideas that can address their challenges. Through these platforms, the city authorities can collect useful input from citizens .Governments can also use these platforms to update citizens on the progress of the smart city projects.
City authorities can collaborate with experts and educational institutions to hold workshops in order to educate citizens on how they can take part in designing smart cities.
A hackathon is an event that brings together different minds in one place to work on a common problem and come up with a solution. For instance, a hackathon can bring together software developers, android developers, and other technocrats who combine their skills to solve a big problem that requires a combination of skills. City authorities should hold hackathons to bring together tech experts, entrepreneurs and other professionals to discuss solutions to challenges facing the cities and their citizens.
CROwDSOURCING CITIZENS` IDEAS
City authorities should make use of citizens’ engagement to crowdsource citizens` ideas and views. This will help city authorities make better decisions on how to improve the lives of citizens.
Citizens should also come up with innovative projects that that solve city challenges and showcase them in workshops, hackathons and other interaction platforms. The city authorities should partner with local and foreign investors to have the most promising innovations funded and implemented.
Most city challenges affect the citizens and they are the best suited to solve them. The governments should therefore bring citizens on board to take part in designing the smart cities. This will result in cities that serve the needs of the citizens.