In 2019, the Green European Foundation, with the support of its partner foundations Bureau de Helling (The Netherlands), Green Economics Institute (United Kingdom), and Institute for Active Citizenship (Czech Republic), will create a Charter for the Smart City to assess and steer technological innovations in cities.

Project Background

People make technology, but technology in turn influences our lives, our societies and even our ethis. The development of new technologies therefore cannot be left to engineers and managers; it requires public debate and democractic control.

All over Europe, so-called ‘smart cities’ are the testing grounds for new technologies that affect how we live. These technologies often involve the use of big data and devices that can act with a degree of autonomy.

Many local politicians find it hard to keep up to speed with the technologies being used in their cities, let alone make informed judgements during the development and implementation of these technologies. This needs to change.

Given the opportunities that new technologies offer for reducing the ecological footpring of cities and creating new urban commons, as well as the potential threats they pose to civil liberties and social justice, Greens should take the lead in the debate on smart cities. Key questions must be considered: who owns the data collected? Which decisions can we responsibly outsource to algorithms?

Project Objectives and Activities

This transnational project aims to create a Charter for the Smart City, consisting of 10-20 guiding principles that will make it easier for green European politicans and activists to assess and steer technological innovations in their cities.

The Charter will draw inspiration from the values of the European Green Party Charcter, as well as one that Bureau de Helling is writing for Dutch cities in 2018.

The project partners will solicit ideas for the Charter, including best practises from NGOs, experts and local green politicians, as well as from GEF partner foundations and from the GGEP.

The project will incorporate a digital exchange of ideas and four workshops organised across Europe, with the Charter to be published as a booklet at the end of the year.

Draft texts of the Charter and best practises from European cities will be published online as the project progresses, to stimulate a broader public debate on the opportunities and challenges ahead for smart cities.

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