University of Wisconsin–Madison

Making Smart Decisions About Smart Cities

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2017
Level City or Town
State(s) California
Policy Areas Data & Technology, Finance & Procurement
“Smart city” products are often touted as cost-efficient solutions to providing government services and addressing societal challenges, but in reality these technologies are no more intelligent than the data and algorithms behind them. Like other tools, their effectiveness depends on when, where and how they are used. And they often carry a wide range of risks or costs that may not be obvious on the surface, including real consequences for your residents and visitors. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to evaluating data-driven urban technologies and the risks and costs they may entail, drafting policies and contracts that can mitigate potential harms, and collaborating with the community to decide whether and how to proceed with smart initiatives at all.

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