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Everyone Left – Smart City Maintenance and Continuity

This research brief was produced for the Community Solutions Network, a program of Future Cities Canada, as part of the Community Solutions Research Series.

The common narrative around smart city initiatives is that they are projects led by innovators to address pressing social challenges and efficiently make use of resources to create a better life for all. Innovation occurs in all sectors of society; however, the technological innovations that lead to transformative smart city infrastructure projects tend to be sourced from the private sector. Such a transformation requires a process of conversion which involves unwinding old systems and deploying new ones, which may still be experimental. Smart city projects are initially successful when innovators are dedicating their attention to specific sites, but what happens when innovators move on? A lack of attention can lead to things falling apart and experimental systems failing faster than expected. This paper presents five lenses that outline technological risks and opportunities for building sustainable practices into smart city plans.

This research brief was written by Graeme Ross Kennedy, and is an adaptation of a Masters Research Paper presented to Ryerson University for the Master of Planning in Urban Development, supervised by Dr. Pamela Robinson.

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