‘Smart places’ is much more than a digital infrastructure and services. It is about people – digitally connected and able to play a full part in their city, town or village life. Digital citizens have the access they need to electronic services and the skills to use them. They also expect to have a strong voice in local and national politics, in how services are designed, delivered and in representing their interests and preferences in how they live their lives in their communities. This is digital democracy – much more than e-voting and electronic consultation.
Today, because of technology, the voice of ordinary people is stronger than it ever has been, and it is increasingly influential. Social media connects people together, shares and reinforces views, and strengthens their voice, individually and collectively.
Our connections are no longer to a small circle of family and friends, but to people we have never met, from different places and backgrounds, yet who share some common interests with us. We influence and encourage them and they do the same with us. Whilst this may reinforce our own prejudices and perceptions, it can also change us through the interaction.
Publications in this series: