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Jared Mondschein considers the reasons that smart cities initiatives have been less than successful in addressing urban needs such as improved mobility and better water management. He believes that engagement with stakeholders early on in the design process is key to improving smart cities outcomes.
"Local smart city initiative leaders have told me and my colleagues that the technologies themselves aren’t the problem – indeed, the sensors and other tools being deployed are often well established with few issues. Rather, smart cities are struggling to navigate the disparate (and often competing) goals, values and needs of the various stakeholders," says Mondschein.
When local residents are not at the planning table with vendors and city officials, the technology employed is often not the right fit for the needs of users. For example, open data portals where smart city data is available should be empowering residents, businesses, and organizations. "But we've uncovered that design flaws may be preventing users from easily accessing and analyzing the data to create community-oriented solutions," notes Mondschein.