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Beyond the Smart City: the people’s roadmap towards technological sovereignty.

© Cristina Ruiz

Digital technologies have redefined urban life in the twenty-first century. Digitalization can improve the life of our cities and Barcelona is set to continue being an important global reference point, whether one thinks about promoting the interests of citizens or maximizing returns to the public. We aspire to continue our efforts in linking innovation with values such as social and economic justice, solidarity, ethics, and gender equality.

Barcelona's priority is to go beyond the concept of the smart city and take full advantage of opportunities brought about by highly transformational data-driven technologies.

As we commit ourselves to putting people's needs at the center of the Digital Agenda, we are not content with a narrow technology-push approach, focused only on sensor networks, gadgets, and connectivity -- an approach that, all too often, results in important infrastructure being managed by big foreign corporations.

Next-generation technology-driven public services will mean better feedback, more efficient government, more engaged communities. For instance, intelligent public transport networks can improve congestion, deliver better mobility and more green space for all citizens, all while lowering energy costs across the board.

Public connectivity, and a large-scale civic digital infrastructure deployment will enable better learning and better digital skills for all citizens, helping to narrow the digital divide. Having a clear strategy for investment, development and deployment of long-term research and innovation is a key element in creating better social policies like social housing, reducing energy poverty, improving health outcomes, and adding meaningful and high-quality jobs.

From an economic point of view, we are putting forward an inclusive and mission-oriented technology and innovation strategy. With appropriate public policies and instruments, technology can be the driving force that will foster a more inclusive, sustainable and smart economy. Such an economy, having placed digital issues at its very core, will also reduce social and economic inequalities, ensure sovereignty of technology and data, democratize access to knowledge, protect digital rights, and guarantee informational self-determination for citizens.

Barcelona aims to create a new powerful vision where technology is an instrument to empower people and transform the city. In a truly democratic city, the citizens should be able to access knowledge commons, open data and the public information infrastructures of the city in order to have better and more affordable public services and a better quality of life.

Barcelona aspires to lead a transition to technological sovereignty that allows both the government and the citizens to decide on and articulate their own priorities in the use of technological innovations in creating public benefits.

This implies finding ways to reclaim and recuperate some of the critical knowledge as well as key data and technology infrastructures that, all too often, remain in the hands of a few big multinational service providers. In addition, the agenda of technological sovereignty, underpinned by the adoption of open source software, open architectures, open standards, and data ethics, should serve the common good.

We hope it would generate new productive and fair economic models and facilitate knowledge sharing between cities,

We have, therefore, evolved from a top-down process to a bottom-up one, promoting collective intelligence and involving all the key players of the city's innovation ecosystem.

Pla "Barcelona Ciutat Digital"

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