The expression Smart City, first coined in the world of ICT (Information and Communication Technology), refers to digital city models created via a network used to spread and circulate information. The aim is that through the use of these networks, optimal efficiency may be achieved in the organisation of various aspects of city life, such as public transport, waste management and energy supply.
The impact of this paradigm on people’s everyday lives can be observed most notably in the USA and Canada, where, following extensive research, it has been possible to define a model for the intelligent city, taking into account social cohesion, with technology forming a cornerstone in the growth of this process.
The smart city has also come to public attention in the Old Continent. The term has been included in the European Agenda 2020. In the specific case of Italy, the theme of the intelligent city has become an important part of the Digital Agenda environment.
The importance of data banks
The creation of the Smart City is a complex process which, in order to be efficient and effective, requires a thorough knowledge of the local area and its citizens’ needs. It is also vital to be up-to-date with current issues and opportunities affecting local services. A strategic plan must be drawn up, which has its roots in the pulsing heart of Data Banks.
According to Decreto Legislativo 196/03 (Privacy Code), the term refers to organised blocks of personal data, which can be divided into various units stored at different locations. Careful management of this data and its combination with information deriving from local councils, Chambers of Commerce and service suppliers, means that available resources can be maximised and specific projects organised so as to create genuine sustainable development.
In Italy there are several examples of this approach. Cities where this approach has been introduced include Turin, Trento, Trieste, Florence and Genoa. Another interesting case is Bologna, which has established an alliance between the world of academia and the University, businesses and the public sector, with the end target being the resolution of urban and social issues via the use of technology.
That is the mission of the project Bologna Smart City, which focuses in particular on operative areas such as the protection of the environment, Cloud and Crowd (collection of data on the contents and services offered by the public administration and private firms), an intelligent communication network, sustainable transport and improved security for all areas of the city. Among other aspects that will be included in the project are healthcare, education and technical training.
How it will affect our lives
The Smart City paradigm aims to improve the lives of citizens and businesses thanks to an intelligent use of data. In order to understand this scenario more fully, it is important to remember that information assumes a specific value and that its destruction or alteration may be harmful for the city’s population.
It is very important not to overlook the protection of personal data. In order to create ever more intelligent cities, users are requested to actively participate, which means they have to forego their right to privacy to a certain extent.
Considering that the Right to Privacy is one of the inviolable rights and is also cited in the Italian Constitution (article 2), it has become necessary to find a compromise between the innovations of the Smart City and the inviolable privacy of the citizens who reside in urban areas. This technology then, faces a huge challenge: adjusting to fit in with established social values.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith