From competitive cities to cooperative cities

Cities need to move from conventional ways of managing from a focus on immediate fixes to smart and intelligent approaches that look at solving root causes. 

Aside from revenue distribution, eliminating silos in favour of a collaborative governance model with shared responsibility would help. For example, the question of waste requires action on several fronts — more citizens, businesses and organizations involved in designing and implementing a holistic ecosystem.

Sylvie Albert reflected on and classified the 130 eligible applications for the Canadian Smart Cities Challenge into three streams:

Forty one per cent related to improving citizen well-being through health (physical, emotional), increased community engagement and safety. The use of mobile applications to disseminate information, monitor with sensors and cameras and self-management were popular ideas. Some projects proposed to develop networks for improved access to housing and food. Others suggested new multi-generational, multicultural business networks to mentor target groups, improve the sense belonging and reduce isolation.

Thirty one per cent wanted to improve the environment and mobility through new energy sources. These projects proposed managing energy consumption, traffic, offering multi-modal transportation, promoting bicycle use and facilitating electric vehicle use with charging stations. Others examined autonomous transit, waste management and environmental monitoring.

Twenty eight per cent were focused on economic development, including support systems for start-ups, attracting knowledge workers and technology industries, designing new educational programs and retrofitting specific sectors of the economy with digital tools.

Four projects received funding. The themes of the funded projects included: access to food and the development of a circular economy; sharing community data to support development; household and urban energy management; health monitoring and system improvements; Indigenous culture preservation; initiatives in sustainable transportation and mobility; environmental risk management; and child and senior safety (such as reducing risks for seniors and establishing systems for the healthy development of youth).

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