Building Universal Socio-cultural Indicators for Standardizing the Safeguarding of Citizens’ Rights in Smart Cities

Abstract

This research explores the opportunity to use standards as recommender instruments for designing urban policy. Standards are soft regulatory mechanisms that can be used for monitoring and safeguarding. More precisely, we explore the potential use of social standards for centering the focus of the smart cities initiative back to the citizens, and establishing a citizen-centered approach. This is in contrast to the industrial drive and technological emphasis which currently dominates. Accordingly, we present a set of novel citizenship indicators which serve as the basis for the social standardization of smart cities, something which is not now taking place, in order to ensure and safeguard the basic social urban rights of citizens. The juridical basis and well-established points of reference for building indicators for citizens’ rights in the city are two International Charters. These are the European Charter for the Safeguarding of Human Rights in the City, and the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City. In this paper, we start by comparing and analyzing the rights contained in each of the two Charters, and elaborating indicators for measuring the promotion and protection of these rights. The elaboration of indicators has been based on different criteria and under the common premise of universal existence of feeding data, which is the most recurrent problem when building indicators meant to be global. Next, at the request of the International Standards Organization (ISO), we select the most relevant socio-cultural indicators for the Global Charter Agenda, which will be introduced in the on-going revision of the smart cities and communities standard ISO 37120:2014 Sustainable development of communitiesIndicators for city services and quality of life. This will make ISO 37120 a more beneficial social standard for monitoring and safeguarding citizens’ rights in the smart city.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    ISO/TC 268/SC 01 “smart urban infrastructure metrics”. Project PWI37151. General principles and requirements.

  2. 2.

    Directorate General for Internal Policies in the EU. Mapping smart cities in the EU., IP/A/ITRE/ST/2013-02. Jan. 2014.

  3. 3.

    European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities Operational Implementation Plan: First Public Draft.

  4. 4.

    ISO/TC 268/SC 01 “smart urban infrastructure metrics”. Project PWI37151. General principles and requirements.

  5. 5.

    ISO/TC 268/WG 01 “Management Systems standards for sustainable development in communities” Project ISO 37101 Internal Design Specifications.

  6. 6.

    ISO/TC 268/WG 02 “Urban indicators” ISO 37120 Sustainable Development and Resilience. Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life.

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Acknowledgments

This research is consuming a huge amount of work and dedication. The elaboration of indicators would not have been possible without the valuable contributions and help of this team, who disinterestedly met with me once a week during months, always active, helpful, and bringing lots of great ideas: Dr. Pere Soler (University of Girona, director the Director of the Joint Master’s Program in Youth and Society (MIJS); Dr. Imma Boada (University of Girona, director of the Institute of Informatics and its Applications); Dr. Joaquim Meléndez (University of Girona, director of the Doctoral Program in Technology); Ms. Anna Serra (Lawyer at Red Cross Girona); Mr. Fran Quirós (Responsible of Cooperation Programs at Charity Girona); Mr. Lluís Puigdemont (Responsible of the Rights Department at Charity Girona); Dr. Montse Aulinas (Project Manager at Grup Fundació Ramon Noguera); Ms. Yolanda García (Responsible of social programs at Grup Fundació Ramon Noguera). Special thanks to Mr. Mark Segal, international consultant on democratization issues, for his valuable comments and general editing support during the elaboration of this research.

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Correspondence to Maria-Lluïsa Marsal-Llacuna.

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Marsal-Llacuna, M. Building Universal Socio-cultural Indicators for Standardizing the Safeguarding of Citizens’ Rights in Smart Cities. Soc Indic Res 130, 563–579 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-015-1192-2

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Keywords

  • Sustainable city indicators
  • Social sustainability
  • Right to the city
  • Human rights in the city
  • Smart cities standardization