In this class we had a long discussion on what entices people to move to and continue living in cities. It’s important to acknowledge these factors when considering how to design and/or rebuild smart cities. Based on what others said in this discussion, I think smart cities have a lot to do with Sen’s idea of development in terms of freedoms and opportunities available to individuals. People want choices and opportunities no matter where they are and the more choices they have available to them, the happier I believe people will be. People want places for recreation and leisure, but they also desire security and a sense of community. When city planners and councils determine the population they wish to attract to cities, they need to make sure the area provides such opportunities. When a city lacks what its inhabitants want and need, it will quickly deteriorate as opposed to develop. Moreover, it’s important to enact “right to the city” policies and practices so that all individuals, and not just certain groups, have equal right and access to the cities’ amenities. Often this involves significant strategic planning and immersion in order to make sure all are included and no one is marginalized.
In accordance with the New Urban Agenda, developing smart cities is a political, social, economic, and environmental task. All these aspects need to be addressed in sustainable urban development. With Habit III taking placing in Quito, Ecuador this October, now is the time more than ever to reconsider and discuss how our world’s future cities will be and what policies need to be immediately implemented. Governments are the main actors and drivers of smart cities, but there are also opportunities for non-governmental organizations and partners to engage and participate in discussion of these issues. For instance, the General Assembly of Partners (GAP) was formally launched at the Seconding Preparatory Committee for Habitat III in April 2015, and allows for all stakeholders to participate and to better collaborate in the conference in order to promote and establish sustainable urbanization.