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How Local Governments Are(n’t) Engaging the Public in Smart City Initiatives

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

From the introduction of the automobile to the rise of the internet and now applications that facilitate a sharing economy, the form and function of cities have been shaped by technological innovation. In some instances, residents advocated for and welcomed this change; sometimes not. Sometimes this change has been positive; other times it has had negative impacts on health, prosperity, equity, and social cohesion. In Canadian democratic society, residents should have a role in choosing change, though from experience we know this does not always occur. This paper examines the Smart City Challenge submissions to understand local governments’ current approach to public engagement and their awareness of and response to key issues related to smart city initiatives.

This research brief was written by Lindsay Toth, 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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