European Commission wants more transparency about “smart city” plans
The European Commission wants urban leaders, developers and vendors to be more transparent about upgrades to the infrastructure and intelligence of cities. Sensors that collect urban data and software that analyzes it are among the “smart city” enhancements sought by many municipalities.
The request comes amid growing concerns that cities may become too dependent on innovations that could pose privacy and cybersecurity concerns. It’s also feared that some cities will invest heavily in solutions that will be left obsolete by fast-evolving technology.
In a February 28 announcement, the commission calls for an “open planning” movement in which urban planners would make their designs public to promote collaboration and education. Cities and companies are further urged to share what they learned from earlier projects so that cities can learn from each other.
“There’s no real teeth behind the European Commission’s call here — the challenge isn’t coming in the form of detailed guidelines, much less requirements,” writes Nancy Scola in Next City. “But it suggests that even ‘smart city’ proponents in Brussels would like to peel back the curtain a bit on the claims being made in its name,” she adds.