Smart People: Page 6 of 24

That last point demands more attention, as it's one of the biggest sources of risk and missed opportunities in smart cities projects. People in low-income neighborhoods are typically left out of bottom-up planning. As Rick Robinson, IT Director for Big Data and Smart Cities at Amey, points out, these people are not without a smart cities vision of their own. They just can't accomplish it on their own.

When people are left out of the discussion and the solution, they are deprived of the infrastructure and resources they need to succeed. It's not a case of charity. As cities become increasingly urban, the success of lower-income neighborhoods is the success of the city as a whole.

A smart city incorporates all communities and devotes attention to providing the necessary infrastructure in those neighborhoods that are falling behind. With populations swelling, providing equitable access and raising living standards of those typically left behind is the only way cities can become truly livable and sustainable.

An approach that mixes top-down with bottom-up brings together the best of both worlds and avoids common pitfalls. Communities need some governance; they just don't need heavy-handed "my way or the highway" governance. Under a light governance model, city leaders set guardrails for the citizens to work within.

Rigid rules are replaced with conditional models. Instead of restrictive rules that tell people what they can't do, leaders enable the community to come up with innovative solutions within certain boundaries while ensuring that everyone has a voice.

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