In this last in our series of smart places guides, we focus on communities and people. Smart places embrace diverse individuals and communities of ‘people in places’ of all creeds, interests and backgrounds. These communities can be real-world or virtual, and local to global, in extent. Policy makers in smart places recognise that there is new complexity today in which individuals often have multiple identities and personae and the communities that are important to them may not be just of the city, town or village where they live.
And beyond just people and how they connect, the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting smart objects and people in places in new ways that promise to make smart places richer, safer, healthier and more productive. Individuals in such smart places will be both more independent and yet more connected to each other than ever before.
The flip side to this social and technological utopianism is concern that all this personal data can and will be linked, analysed and abused to individual or community detriment. So some people are asking what are the risks of living in a smart place and what new skills might citizens need to manage them? What should be the role of democratic governments in protecting us and our civil liberties? And who will watch the watchmen?
Publications in this series: