Many cities are recently developing "Smart" agendas, many of which managed as a strategic selection from among a range of ICT infrastructures and equipment offered by the technology industry and/or being discovered by observing other cities. Yet is ICT infrastructure a key condition for smart innovation? Do heavily "wired" environments and services match the concrete needs of people in real urban places? Is the technology driven approach to urban innovation the best way to develop the smart agendas?
A different, more human-oriented perspective has been developed by the partners of the European Project PERIPHÈRIA (CIP ICT PSP Programme, Grant Agreement number 271015), also inspired by the Territorial Living Lab approach, which identifies citizens as the key agents of change in a "smart path" towards innovation. People in cities, from within their specific urban spaces, can be the "authors" of a new city smartness in which technologies, often considered innovation drivers, can be also seen as innovation enabling infrastructures.
In this sense, "smart" is a city that learns how to self-organize its smartness; it is aware of its rich capital of people able to shift resources back and forth from cyberspace to "cityspace"; it is aware that citizens are not only "intelligent" but also accessible and able to make their city a place with an infinite variety of choices. In such a smart city people are the engines of innovation.
The Human Smart City Cookbook is one of the outputs of the Periphèria project and has been prepared as an easy guide to a very complex task – sparking off citizen-driven digital social innovation for new public services within the city where we live and work. This is a special kind of Cookbook, since it tells you about the ingredients to buy, the tools to use, and how to mix them, but the specific end result cannot be predicted, as it will be dependent on the specific blend of people and processes that makes your city so special. This is what we call a "Human" Smart City: Human Smart cities are those where governments engage citizens by being open to be engaged by citizens, supporting the co-design of technical and social innovation processes through a peer-to-peer relationship based on reciprocal trust and collaboration. Here technology is considered as a social construct or a process enabler, not an end in itself.
DAStU - Department of Architecture and Urban Studies
Politecnico di Milano