Mobile phone apps, smart cards, sensors (mechanical and human) offer huge opportunities to improve the way cities are managed in order to build connected, inclusive and more efficient territories. Many local governments around the world are already experimenting and have demonstrated amazing results in energy savings, better use of public budgets or opening new channels to communicate with their citizens.
Choosing the right product and making it work in the local context can be a challenge for local governments. The technology changes too quickly and the internal process of contracting, implementing and proving value are often too slow for cities. Too often technology becomes obsolete even before the project starts delivery. Uraía brings together cities and their partners to share experiences about what works and what do not. Collects and analyses best practices, assess processes and provides recommendations.
The challenges of city life are becoming more and more complex with more and more people living in cities. The local government needs to offer more services to an increasing population, and the smartphone provides incredible opportunities to become a truly instrument of citizenship for many people that were previously excluded of access to information and simply, did not exist. Today, citizens can now obtain vital information during and immediately after natural catastrophes, they can access banking services without having a formal residence address, they are also able to become visible and able to participate in public life. On the other end, citizens today demand increased transparency and effectiveness in public service delivery. Open government and enhanced accountability are central to municipal management.
Municipal finances are central to the capacity of local governments to offer accessible and quality services to their citizens. To better serve them, local governments require acquiring the necessary resources through innovative financial mechanisms.
The first question to be addresses is of course, the one of local taxation and how SMART technologies can help to create trust in the capacities of the local government to provide public services with the taxpayers money. Citizens need to believe that the municipality will use the revenue in a transparent way and that collected taxes will have a direct and visible impact in their own neighborhood.
For this process to happen, things need to move very quickly, the benefits of the transformation from informality to formality needs to be perceived by the citizen almost immediately, and this is where the systematic use of SMART of technologies can have a transformative effect, providing transparency and battering corruption, as operations are registered, referenced and opened to the public.
The action field of SMART technologies is immensely vast and the opportunities presented by their use in municipal management are being tested and proved each day in different cities around the world in a variety of sectors such as transportation, energy efficiency, waste and water management, e-administration, health care, safety and security, education, etc. SMART technologies can improve governance and increase efficiency in services management through a better use of resources and stronger citizen dialogue and participation. Examples of key SMART sectors include:
The Uraía Platform uses the expression SMART technologies in capital letters because SMART doesn't refer only to the ICT technologies but also to a specific approach regarding their use by local governments in public management to build sustainable, resilient and liveable cities. Traditionally, the S.M.A.R.T. goals are criteria used in public and private management. When applied to the innovation in municipal management, it means "Sustainable - Measurable - Accountable - Realistic - Transparent".