• Vol 9, No 7 (2018)
  • Architecture

Smart Government: An European Approach toward Building Sustainable and Secure Cities of Tomorrow

Patrycja Sankowska


Cite this article as:
Sankowska, P., 2018. Smart Government: An European Approach toward Building Sustainable and Secure Cities of Tomorrow. International Journal of Technology. Volume 9(7), pp. 1355-1364
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Patrycja Sankowska Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Spatial and Enviromental Planning, Technical University Kaiserslautern, Pfaffenbergstraße 95, Geb. 1, D-67663 Kaiserslautern,
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Abstract
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The term Smart Government often appears in correlation with the Smart City subject and is seen as one of its elements. In fact, while those two terms share common interests and focus on similar technological solutions, they are still separate subjects that can, but do not have to, result from each other. A Smart Government might be a part of a Smart City’s agenda, but for municipalities with an already well-modernized governing system, it is not a necessary premise. In such cases, a Smart Governance, which is one of a Smart City’s dimensions, might be considered in regard to upgrading some of the existing governing tools without tackling the matter of redefining administrative structures. Those subtle differences fuse together because the debate on digital transformation concerns numerous varying urbanization aspects that often show only the big picture of possibilities and, subsequently, are not specific enough to provide the cities with useful directions and priorities in the real agenda setting. In this context, the effort linked to restructuring even a small administrative faction in terms of Smart Government can be seen by the public and municipalities as simply overwhelming. Therefore, focusing on this subject exclusively and defining the current, city-specific demand on the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) -driven administrative system seems to be crucial in developing real working solutions in this field. The first part of this paper clarifies the definition of Smart Government by showing its specifics and fundamental rules from the European perspective. It also focuses on different structural implementation tools and presents a new approach toward Policy Cycle. The second part concentrates on crucial ICT components of a Smart Government. The last part lists some possible challenges that might occur throughout the implementation process. The paper ends with a summary presented in the form of a charter that exhibits the key points and priorities needed to establish an effective and sustainable Smart Government agenda.

Big Data; Cloud Platforms; ICT; Policy Cycle; Smart City; Smart Government

Introduction

Digitalization has lately become an omnipresent topic in most international discussions regarding future city planning. For many, Smart Cities are the equivalent of a new, sustainable approach toward urbanization because, through technological improvement, they offer more transparent and egalitarian management tools. Not only municipalities but other city stakeholders have started to be increasingly interested in co-working on nearly every urban redevelopment aspect. According to Al-Khouri (2015), “the internet and subsequent technological developments have pushed citizens’ expectations to new levels. (...) Governments worldwide are struggling to comprehend the rapid developments that have impacted all practice fields around them.”

This raises a question of how such a complex transformation like redefining governmental structures and adjusting them to ever-changing IT solutions should be approached. “The likelihood of substantial changes is high since digitalization in not only a technology in the narrowest sense but a new form of communication that permeates all social and economic processes and inevitably gives rise to new knowledge holders and stakeholders” (Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development; BBSR, 2017).

For many municipalities, the topic seems to be overwhelming and simply not realistic in a short time, as adjustment procedures for legal reinforcements and structural governmental changes are highly complex, long-term processes. However, with a certain pragmatic approach and set of key priorities on which cities could focus in a new agenda setting, a consequent and progressive change can be achieved.


Conclusion

Smart Government, which benefits from technological development, pragmatic approaches, and new working methods, can create the missing link between government and other city stakeholders. Regardless of the chosen digitalization approach, if cooperation, communication, and efficiency become a central point of this transformation, a new type of decision-making and policy formulation can be created that will distribute the workload and responsibility in process conduction to every level.

The author found it useful to summarize this paper in the form of a charter. Based on the information given in previous chapters, 8 key points for building a sustainable Smart Government were selected to give a general direction toward agenda setting: (1) Expand municipal digitalization and improve its digital competencies; (2) Redefine cooperation methods between government, politics and civil society; (3) Clearly define the cooperation rules and sphere of influence; (4) Every stakeholder shares the responsibility decision-making and the execution of the chosen strategies; (5) Make room for innovation and a higher acceptance for risk-taking; (6) Regulate data privacy matters without slowing innovation and development; (7) Guarantee security, fairness, and egalitarianism; and (8) The utmost goals are connectivity, cooperation, and communication.

Supplementary Material
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