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City governments around the world are investing heavily in smart city technologies, from the internet of things and predictive analytics to automated infrastructure. Yet a lot of investment in the past has been wasted because of a failure to take the needs of citizens into account or the role that they can play in making their cities smarter.

Alongside smarter transport and energy infrastructures we argue that smart cities need to tap the collective brainpower of their people. Nesta’s report 'Rethinking smart cities from the ground up' identifies four ways that cities and citizens can work together to solve urban challenges: crowdsourcing, collective intelligence, crowdfunding and collaborative consumption. This event explored how these trends are having an impact on planning, mobility, sustainability and other urban challenges, and how collectively they can offer an alternative to the smart city.

Session 1 - How can city governments use digital technology to engage, enable and empower citizens?

  • Ger Baron, Chief Technology Officer, City of Amsterdam
  • Carine Saloff-Coste, Director of Economic Development, Employment and Higher Education, Municipality of Paris
  • Lauren Sager Weinstein, Head of Analytics at Transport for London
  • Andrew Collinge, assistant director of intelligence and analysis, Greater London Authority

Session 2 - How can people use digital technology to influence the way their cities work?

  • Anthony Townsend, author of 'Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia'
  • Chris Gourlay, Founder, Spacehive
  • Claire Mookerjee, Project Lead for Urbanism, Future Cities Catapult