Generating actionable intelligence and meaningful data from a Smart Cities project.

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Theses / Dissertations
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Master of Science
University of Canterbury
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Slaughter, Hayden

Smart cities utilise new and innovative technology to improve the function of the city for governments, citizens and businesses. This thesis offers an in-depth discussion on the concept of the smart city and sets the context of smart cities internationally. It also examines how to improve a smart city through public engagement, as well as, how to implement participatory research in a smart city project to improve the level of engagement of citizens in the planning and implementation of smart projects. This thesis shows how to incentivise behaviour change with smart city technology and projects, through increasing participation in the planning and implementation of smart technology in a city. Meaningful data is created through this process of participation for citizens in the city, by engaging the citizens in the creation of the data, therefore the information created through a smart city project is created by and for the citizens themselves. To improve engagement, a city must understand its specific context and its residents. Using Christchurch, New Zealand, and the Christchurch City Council (CCC) Smart City Project as a case study, this research engages CCC stakeholders in the Smart City Project through a series of interviews, and citizens in Christchurch through a survey and focus groups. A thorough literature review has been conducted, to illuminate the different definitions of the smart city in academia, business and governments respectively, and how these definitions vary from one another. It provides details of a carefully selected set of relevant smart cities internationally and will discuss how the Christchurch Earthquake Sequence of 2010 and 2011 has affected the CCC Smart City Project. The research process, alongside the literature review, shows diverse groups of citizens in the city should be acknowledged in this process. The concept of the smart city is redefined to incorporate the context of Christchurch, its citizens and communities. Community perceptions of smart cities in Christchurch consider the post-disaster environment and this event and subsequent rebuild process should be a focus of the smart city project. The research identified that the CCC needs to focus on participatory approaches in the planning and implementation of smart projects, and community organisations in Christchurch offer an opportunity to understand community perspectives on new smart technology and that projects internationally should consider how the context of the city will affect the participation of its residents. This project offers ideas to influence the behaviour change of citizens through a smart city project. Further research should consider other stakeholders, for instance, innovation and technology-focused business in the city, and to fully engage citizens, future research must continue the process of participatory engagement, and target diverse groups in the city, including but not limited to minority groups, older and younger generations, and those with physical and mental disabilities.

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