The power of ‘networked governance’ to solve city problems
Eric Jaffe

Text: “Are smart cities designing for inclusivity?”

How To Achieve A Smart City Unfair Advantage

People-Centered Urban Design and Citizen Co-Creation is Key

Lessons learned in the 20-year history of Smart Cities are testaments to the truth that successful and sustainable Smart Cities cannot be built solely upon the technology mainframe.

“Listening to the same slate of white guys in blazers will not lead us down the path of innovation; it will not generate the change that is so desperately needed in the technology industry; it will not help America retain our global advantage.”
— Brenda Darden Wilkerson

We must support and engage the broader community, prioritize and practice people-centered urban design and provide multi-modal pathways for all citizens — including citizens who are aging and living with disabilities — to join-in and meaningfully participate in the co-creation of their Smart City.

Picture: Copenhagen, Denmark: people gather at the Nyhavn waterfront. Picture Credit (Maria Eklind / Flickr)

More than a “defacto memo” — a global mandate has emerged calling for municipalities to design and build Smart Cities for human diversity and social inclusion. Smart Cities that incorporate accessibility and inclusion into public policy and practice are at the front-line of innovation and social equity.

Cities are networks of individuals — and people who are aging and living with disabilities are integral to these networks, along with their families, neighbors, and caregivers. Engaging the disability and aging communities in the planning of Smart Cities is critical to ensuring alignment with citizen needs and expectations.

Today more than 46 million Americans are over the age of 65, and 57 million Americans live with disabilities. Given the rapid pace of urbanization, these numbers are expected to double by 2060, creating an imperative social responsibility and global mandate to design and build Smart Cities for human diversity and social inclusion.

There is no one recipe for urban revival, but what these three cities (and others) share is an emerging style of local co-governance that joins public, private, and civic forces — a collaborative movement identified by Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak of the Brookings Institution in a new book, The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism
The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism

We’re adding this resource to our library and blog. Readers may also find smart city solutions for accessibility, inclusion, people-centered urban planning, citizen engagement, citizen co-creation and much more at the Smart Cities Library™ — the premier online resource that helps private, and public organizations build and refine accessible and inclusive smart cities that ensure no citizen is left behind or excluded.

Smart Cities Library™


I welcome comments.

Building a Global Culture of Access and Inclusion™

Darren Bates is internationally recognized as a visionary strategic thought leader in global Diversity and Inclusion and Smart City Human-Centered Urban Innovation. Founder and President of Darren Bates LLC and the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer for the Smart Cities Library.™

Darren Bates LLC
Darren Bates LLC is a boutique global consulting firm that helps private and public organizations diversify their workforce by outreaching, hiring, retaining, and promoting qualified individuals with disabilities.

Smart Cities Library™
The Smart Cities Library™ is the premier online resource for building and refining accessible and inclusive, human-centered Smart Cities that ensure no citizen is left behind or accidentally excluded due to the rapid pace of global urbanization and technology innovation.

▪︎ Building a Global Culture of Access and Inclusion™ 
▪︎A Smart City is a Connected City and a Connected City is an Accessible and Inclusive City™
▪︎ A City Isn’t Smart If It Doesn’t Include Everyone™
▪︎ Building a Culture of Access and Inclusion in the Modern Workplace™