Towards Carbon-Neutral Smart Cities (Call for feedback on proposed festival session)


As part of the event "Service Design in an Climate Emergency" that will take place in Berlin on 28 Nov during the [Edgeryders festival]( hosted by @mrchrisadams and Kathryn Hing, I'm planning to contribute **a brief input on smart cities and their potential roles in fighting climate change - or vice versa, on the role that the fight against climate change should have on smart city planning and governance.**

(So-called “smart cities” and how to make them better has been the focus of my ER fellowship research.)

I think the best format would be a brief (maybe 20min?) input followed by an informal conversation. I’m looking for feedback: Does this sound interesting, what’s missing, who’d be interested in having that conversation?

Here’s the framing/summary I have in mind:

Towards Carbon-Neutral Smart Cities

As we see a move towards connecting the urban space around the globe, so-called “smart cities” projects proliferate. While often problematic from concept to implementation, there is an opportunity to use this momentum to make our urban infrastructures work for everyone, including the planet.

We propose that every smart city project needs to be aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, human rights, and the simplified TAPS framework (Transparency, Accountability, Participation, Security). Furthermore, any smart city project must be carbon-neutral, or at the very least have a carbon footprint an order of magnitude smaller than the existing systems it replaces or augments.

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Well, to me “smart city” always sounds as something focused on what is administratively possible in the current socio-political environment. Which at least in Europe is not much right now.

So when treating this topic, I prefer a fresh take: focusing on what is technologically possible instead, while breaking the rules. But I made my point already (back here), so no need to repeat it all.


ping @anon82932460 and @MariaEuler and @inge


Yup, understood. And I tend to agree, we need to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. I also think we need to make sure that the stuff that does get built (or is being planned/discussed now) will implemented in the best/least bad way, and that the folks/orgs who decide have a better decision-making matrix that we can hold them accountable to.

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How similar or dissimilar are smart city plans from each other? are they similar enough that the moniker ‘smart city’ should suffice in informing us as to what that truly means? Or is there a lot of variance and thus every city needs its own unique analysis?

Hey Peter,

So I have thought about how we can involve more people in contributing to developing this session (and the broader conversation). The simplest way is to plug into the distributed collaboration process through which the comms and community management crews are coordinating. I am following this process for my workshop on Ai and Justice and it is working really well.

  1. Update your event description above with the following:

    • Add a question that you want to answer through the session
    • Add an Faq Section (you can copy paste the one on my workshop description)
    • Add a description of the format. if you can make it a bit interactive or identify a specific methodology you will be using that’s great. Feel free to ask if you need help with this
  2. Make it easy for us to promote it:

    • Give @MariaEuler photos + statements/quotes she can use to customise design for a flyer and for a header for this event.
  3. See what you think of this approach to one on one outreach for getting good input to help you develop the session, and the broader discussion you wish to build around the topics of your fellowship:

    • You send emails with to people you think can contribute to this discussion with personalised invitation using content from the one I forwarded you as a template/model
      * If they agree you can forward them to a member of Edgeryders staff (@inge for now) who then does the interview & transcribes content, and helps them to get on platform. You would need to agree with her on what questions you would like to ask…
  4. Read the articles posted by the contributers and write a summary. Perhaps you can also draw help from the data analysis team to make visualisations that can help you synthesise what is there and share it back with a nice visual graph. If this is something you want to explore, the person to talk to is @amelia.

What do you think, works?

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That’s an excellent question. The two-part answer is:

  • In the strict sense of the words, they don’t differ as much: They cover a lot of ground, but all with the same underlying DNA, so to speak. It’s an industry term, heavily originated in the early IBM thinking in that space, and later also heavily influenced by the DNA of the other global enterprises that push the term (global supply chain logistics; network operators; data analytics) so that informs the approach a lot.
  • In the broader sense of the word, which I very much prefer (let’s reclaim and transform that term!) it could be anything that adds connectivity in public space/urban infrastructure, including bottom-up or decentralized approaches.
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Hiya, can you tell me a little bit more about the TAPS framework and the sector it comes from? Kind regards, CCS

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In case your need some data sets for the event I found nice repository of Data for Environmental Intelligence: A mega list of Earth System Datasets covering earth observations, climate, water, forests, biodiversity, ecology, protected areas, natural hazards, marine and the tracking of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals


@pbihr, I added the FAQ that needs to be added to all the festival posts.
Could you change this to a description from a proposal?

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Hi @CCS, it’s a framework I’ve started working on developing in a very early stage to think through aspects like transparency, accountability, privacy, security (hence the acronym). It yet needs to be fleshed out, but I hope to turn it into a simple tool to evaluate smart city proposals against. Basically: Would project X increase (or at the very least not decrease) those four aspects? If it wouldn’t, then back to the drawing board.



Looking through the European data sets it’s even interesting which countries have more data sets. I wonder if the data sets or similar enough that they can be easily compared across border…