Our society needs a vision for a future that is made by and starts from people. Local communities are the foundation of human society and the way in which our cities and communities are governed determines how we look forward to our future.
The role of technology and the evolutions in digitisation can not be underestimated. But technology in any forms always has had an impact on the way that people interact. In the past the invention of steam engines, trains and automobiles revolutionalised our world. But all too often we forget why we use technology. It is the answer, but what was the question?
Smart cities are a hype in the field of thinking about and working on the city and the local community of the future. But smart cities can be dangerous. Especially when technology is only used with control as objective, or profit maximisation. Totalitarian regimes or corporatocracies can gratefully use new ways to monitor and even determine human behaviour. Information and knowledge can become the monopoly of those who have the power over the technology.
citiesofpeople wants to contribute to an open society. The future is certainly urban and the recipe for the future will have to be applied at a local level first. The ingredients of that recipe are simple, but only through a balanced mix will the result be edible. Every local community needs its own local 'flavour':
- a vision that is shared by all local stakeholders on the future of the city and the local community. An integrated strategy across all domains that is flexible and permanently adaptable to new and emerging realities. A strategy shared, implemented and executed by all actors (the future belongs to all)
- an collaboration model (quadruple helix: government, industry, academia, citizens and civil society) that is set up to constantly update the strategy and that allows for collaboration on a level playing field, without strict hierarchy to make the city together (the city belongs to all)
- an engagement to decide on the challenges at hand before looking at the role of technology in finding solutions (technology can be an enabler)
- a focus on 'place'. The evolution towards cities that are made for people (citiesforpeople) is great. But people themselves increasingly feel the need to make their place themselves (citiesofpeople)
- a focus on data. Data is the foundation for vision and contributes to good decision making at any level
- a new and open way of governance of the city. Participation is so much more than citizen engagement in policies. Co-creating our future should be done without paternalism and with an open attitude. Democracy is more than elections
- an open government that takes up new roles as connector and consolidator of vision in society: with an open government organisation that does not only strives for maximal efficiency in service delivery but also takes up an important role for the common good
- an view on the world. A city or a municipality does not end at the administrative borders. To make our future more sustainable a strong cooperation between cities and rural communities, between government levels with a linkage between local and global challenges is needed.