What is a digital smart city?
Montreal is brimming with creativity in terms of information and communications technologies (ICT): this is not a cliché, it's a fact. It is time to put that creativity to work for Montrealers, to bring Montreal into the select club of "smart" cities who use ICT to:
● COMMUNICATE: Get closer to their citizens by aligning services with their needs and boosting their involvement in decision-making;
● COLLABORATE: Bring private, public and civic stakeholders together in open collaboration to increase their local innovative capacity, develop entrepreneurship and extend their international reach;
● COORDINATE: Contribute to the well-being of their citizens by promoting sustainable development, responsible management of natural resources and, above all, effective municipal government.
One of the basic principles of the digital smart city is to involve citizens in the decisions that affect their daily lives. To do this, we must put in place mechanisms that facilitate this interaction with the City. For Montreal to develop as a smart city, we must provide access to digital facilities and tools that foster collaboration while meeting the criteria of efficiency and budgetary realism.
The current spaces for civic involvement (libraries and cultural centres) would be used for this purpose: once transformed, they would provide opportunities for Montrealers of all generations and origins to contribute to the smart city through their projects and initiatives, as well as providing a testing ground to assess new public policy.
COMMITMENT Provide all Montrealers with access to digital tools:
● Increase access to free WiFi zones throughout the city in an organized, structured manner;
● Through the network of libraries and cultural centres, provide all boroughs with learning and creation spaces where citizens can access cutting-edge digital technology and develop collaborative projects;
● These spaces would offer users free WiFi, modern computers, video and media tools, computer courses for people of all ages and "Living Lab" environments to identify and foster emerging projects;
● The network would play a role in the City’s cultural expression, especially during Montreal’s 375th anniversary in 2017.
The City must take the lead in the digital adventure, by optimizing its structures, accelerating sharing of data it collects on a range of topics (transport, infrastructure, energy consumption, environment, safety, etc.) and initiating partnerships with other public and private stakeholders.
COMMITMENT Take an active role in the implementation of the digital smart city and facilitate collaboration with other stakeholders:
● Give the Executive Committee member in charge of digital a one-year mandate to put together an action plan with goals for the next four years. He should also assess the existing IT and digital environment and coordinate changes within the city administration. In addition, he should assess the quality of open data access channels, accelerate their deployment and support the development of applications that use them to good advantage;
● Build a list of Montreal ICT industry representatives who would act as advisors for the City’s ICT development projects;
● Support Montreal’s creative spaces (Société des arts technologiques, Notman House, Espace pour la vie, etc.) by fostering the development of themes related to their mission in areas of the economy: transport, health, environment, social innovation, the arts, etc.;
● Participate actively in international smart city networks to share best practices.
The digital smart city is of no interest unless it improves the well-being of Montrealers. There are many instances of cities throughout the world that have used ICT to address specific urban problems. Montreal would also aim for this by stimulating collaboration among citizens, educational institutions, research centers and private enterprise.
COMMITMENT Launch applications that bring the citizens and municipal government closer together and enhance civic involvement in decision-making:
● Develop a collaborative web platform that improves Montrealers’ capacity for dialogue with the city administration at any time and disseminates relevant, geolocalized information to residents, visitors and tourists (history, arts, local services, businesses, etc.);
● Support the development of a multimodal trip planner that allows Montrealers to optimize travel within the city based on the time of day and their departure and destination points, taking advantage of the various means of public transit at their disposal (subway, bus, BIXI) and circumventing any blockages;
● Ensure that parking spaces in the downtown area are managed in such a way that a fair price is paid for parking time and other drivers are informed on parking availability.