Pippa Gardner is the Project Manager for the Future City | Glasgow City Technology Platform. She tells us below what makes a Smart City into a Future City.

We talk about Smart Cities, we talk about Future Cities – but what is the difference? There is a lot of on-going debate and discussion in academia, in the public sector and in the private sector about smart versus future versus sustainable versus whatever the next phraseology might be in relation to cities.  The really exciting bit is when the debate and discussion turns into delivery.

For me, smart refers to the role of technology.  But, it is the role of people in future that makes the real difference.

My initial observations are that there are three main things that are critical for future, and that help give real substance, and a lasting impact, to smart.

  • the right delivery team
  • an open culture
  • community conversation.

All of these rely on people.

Delivery Team

A collection of dedicated people are required to enable any of the future things to happen in the first place.

Progress must be prioritised over procrastination.

This requires strong visionaries that stick their necks out and set the agenda; the robust governance and management that provide the purpose, direction and support to keep everything on track; and the enthusiastic practical on-the-ground delivery people that keep driving things forward – crafting the deliverables, breaking down barriers and just making things happen.

Open Culture

There has to be an open, transparent and challenging culture – people have to really want a future city to happen and be ready to accept the risks that go with that.  They need to feel that they can push on towards delivery even when they might not be 100% sure of what will happen or be totally in control about what they are about to achieve (or not achieve for that matter).  People have to accept that there may be bad news and be equally prepared to shout about that, not just celebrate the good news.  That is when the culture is open and the real trust exists.

Community Conversation

I don’t think it is just about community engagement or citizen science.  It incorporates both of those but it is bigger and has the potential to be quite natural.

Future is about real engagement in the community conversation

Two-way, three-way, multi-way.  Back and forward, round-and-about, technology-based or face-to-face.  It really doesn’t matter – just let’s be having it.

These represent the real ‘triple helix’ for me.  Glasgow’s Future Cities Demonstrator (Future City | Glasgow) will deliver smart along the way, but it will primarily, and more importantly, deliver future.

Really looking forward to the conversations… @openglasgow or comment below.