New ways of delivering public services and making better use of existing resources and infrastructure: smart cities

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Horváthné Barsi, Boglárka
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NISPAcee Press; Forumi Shqiptar Social Ekonomik (ASET)
The phrase of smart city is not new. It may have origins in the 80s and 90s, when a new way of thinking examining the role of new technologies in the operation, structure and planning of cities emerged. The theory of information society was formed, with the availability, presence and quality of information and communication technologies (ICTs) with the centre of it. In the 2000s a new concept came to fore emphasizing not only the technology itself, but its role in human, social capital and the usage of these technologies. In recent years the concept of smart cities drew attention of many researchers dealing with urban development and competitiveness, experts of urban planning and management and leaders of big multinational IT companies. Today smart city is in the mood, not only in academic researches, but in public government choices and projects. In spite of the very broad usage of the notion of smart city, shared and sound definition of the concept still lacks. The usage and content is mainly depend on the context, background and interest of different stakeholders using the smart city definition. Although there is no general consensus on the concept, the idea of smart cities is rooted in the creation and connection of human capital, social capital and ICTs infrastructure to generate greater and more sustainable economic development and a better quality of life (“Doing more with less.”). According to European Parliament, factors for successful smart cities include active participation of citizenry to create a sense of ownership and commitment, local level coordination to ensure the integration of solutions across the portfolio of initiatives and participation of local governments in networks to share knowledge and experiences. In the past years, cities are increasingly aware of the concept of “smart city” and actively developing strategies towards the goal of becoming “smart” and manage, more efficiently, city resources and addressing development and inclusion challenges. The growth of smart cities is helping the increase of government use of ICTs to improve political participation, implement public policies or provide public sector services. Local governments are called to be key actors to create an interactive-, participatory- and information-based urban environment with the ultimate aim at producing increasing wealth and public value, achieving higher quality of life for citizens. Empirical studies on smart city initiatives indicate that despite some peculiarities and differences between the initiatives the principles of open, transparent, and participatory government appear to be integral part of them. There are also sharp critics of smart city concept, regarding it only a marketing tool applied by all the cities using some forms of ICT, as a label or brand of successfulness. That is why the elaboration of smart city assessment tools and performance measurement systems are needed in order to sort out real smart cities and effective smart city methods and solutions. In my paper I would like to present the terminological aspects of smart city concept, its heterogenic theoretical background, the role of smart governance in it, possible forms of measurement and the limits of assessment with some empirical evidences from Hungary.
intelligens városok , közszolgáltatások
24th NISPAcee Annual Conference: Spreading Standards, Building Capabilities: European Administrative Space in Progress. Konferencia helye, ideje: Zágráb , Horvátország , 2016.05.19 -2016.05.21. Zágráb: NISPAcee Press; Forumi Shqiptar Social Ekonomik (ASET), 2016. p. online. 10 p. (ISBN:978-80-89013-81-4)