This article describes IHC Global’s “Smart City. Just City” initiative which it launched at a panel at the ninth World Urban Forum (WUF 9) held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2018. The initiative is a key component of IHC Global’s commitment to the New Urban Agenda and to achieving the aims of Global Goal 11. By seeking to align two different approaches to urban development – the technology driven “smart city” approach and the “social justice” informed “just city” approach – its goal is to fill a policy and practice gap with a policy framework and supporting indicators which will enable cities to intentionally use technology to achieve greater inclusiveness and equity and so to create places and spaces which are both “smart” and “just.”
Too often “smart cities” focus on technology almost exclusively and when other benefits are seen as “by-products” of the technology. On the other hand, the human-centered focus of “just cities” too often fails to think sufficiently progressively or to use available technologies to advance its goals. “Smart City. Just City” aims to bring these two approaches together, to show that “technology” and “human centeredness” are not mutually exclusive terms and that the often private-sector driven use of technology can in fact serve “public good” purposes when these purposes are intentionally pursued. IHC Global’s premise is that when a city uses smart technology with the purpose to achieve greater inclusiveness and justice, divisions will be lessened; economic opportunities will be more plentiful and widely available; a large number of people will be more robustly prepared to cope with natural and other “shocks”; and the city, as a whole, will prosper.
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