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Citizen Co-designed and Co-produced Smart City Japanese smart city projects for “quality of life” and “resilience”

Abstract : "Smart Cities" are assumed to be based on smart technology, smart people or smart collaboration, assigning citizens significant roles. Despite increasing "citizen participation" in the discourse, there is very little debate on their socio-political implications. While some argue that ICT will enhance democratic debate and empower citizens [45, 18, 8], others concern about the development of Smart Cities "without critical discussions and 'politics'" [55, 5, 53] and notice the lack of attention for the politics of technical choices. This applies in particular to Smart Cities, since they require citizens to change behaviour according to quantitative targets and technological features. Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) launched its Smart City project in 2010. The government set specific criteria in order to ensure the "participation of all the stakeholders" (among which the citizens) and the "lifestyle innovation" [22]. The paper analyses information provided by semi-structured interviews to stakeholders of Japanese Smart Cities; the tools of citizen involvement proved effective in promoting cooperation and achieving significant outcomes in terms of energy consumption reductions, this involvement has not allowed any political debate about core issues such as Smart City, sustainability, and policies. METI and Japanese Smart Cities risk the potential for social innovation [7]. Research on behaviour change and sustainability also suggests that such situation is likely to hinder more significant shift towards sustainable lifestyles [56, 50]. Drawing on analysis of official documents as well as on interviews with each of the four Smart Communities' stakeholders, the paper explains that very little input is expected from Japanese citizens. Instead, ICTs are used by municipalities and electric utilities to steer project participants and to change their behaviour. The objective of Smart Communities would not be to involve citizens in city governance, but rather to make them participate in the co-production of public services, mainly energy production and distribution.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 5, 2017 - 5:35:54 PM
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Benoît Granier, Hiroko Kudo. Citizen Co-designed and Co-produced Smart City Japanese smart city projects for “quality of life” and “resilience” . the 9th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance, 2016, Montevideo, Uruguay. ⟨10.1145/2910019.2910103⟩. ⟨halshs-01533081⟩



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