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Julie Cook Kitchener Feb 28, 2024 14:13 pm
Smart Cities have risen in popularity in the past several years. As sustainability professionals, many of whom work for municipalities, you may have come across or be working toward making your urban area a Smart City. These are technologically advanced cities that deploy hundreds or thousands of sensors to collect data about people and infrastructure in order to improve resource efficiency and operations across the city. Citizens may download apps that provide them with access to city services, reports on electricity outages, accidents, and crimes, allow them to pay taxes, etc. Smart City technology allows city officials to monitor city infrastructure (e.g. traffic flow, energy usage) in a way that is meant to optimize services for urban citizens. 
The primary benefits of Smart Cities are:
-       tackling climate change through resource efficiency
-       lowering operational costs by streamlining municipal services
-       dispatching, increasing, or decreasing services in a specific area
-       accessing information in real time
-       knowing what areas of the city are most and least frequented
-       providing free resources for citizens such as WIFI and device charging
This all sounds amazing, and it could be, if the risks are adequately understood and addressed. The networked and centralized nature of Smart Cities represents a concern for the privacy rights of citizens. What data is collected about citizens (e.g. individuals’ movements in a city), how, and for what reason, matters. Privacy rights, data governance, and data security measures should be built into Smart City systems from the outset. And as always, for social marketers who aim to influence behaviour for the better, priority group empowerment and co-design is best.
For more information about Smart Cities, visit the following sites:
-       National Geographic
-       Municipal World