Founded in 2016, Smart Dublin is an initiative of the four Dublin Local Authorities (Dublin City Council, Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Fingal County Council and South Dublin County Council) that uses new technologies to improve services and enhance quality of life in the Dublin Region.
We believe that through civic innovation – driving forward new ideas, technologies and ways of working – we can improve the region’s operations and the lives of citizens.
Smart Dublin works through collaboration, reaching out and engaging with technology providers, researchers and citizens to co-create solutions to regional challenges.
Smart Dublin, on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities endorses the principles of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights. As technology increasingly permeates every fabric aspect of our day-to-day lives, local authorities must play an important role in promoting and upholding the digital rights of our citizens.
To this end, in 2019 Smart Dublin launched a new work stream entitled “Digital Rights”. The work stream consists of three core pillars: 1) Data Privacy, 2) Ethics and the Smart City and 3) Citizen Engagement, which we are embedding across all programme activities.
Example Smart Dublin Initiatives
Objective 1: Universal and equal access to the internet, and digital literacy
WiFi4EU aims to advance free and open access to WiFi for citizens in public spaces including squares, libraries, community centres, public parks, leisure centres, sports centres, art facilities, and community and Council facilities. As part of this initiative, Dublin Local Authorities are engaging and consulting with communities across the region to identify priority areas in-need of better internet access. The roll-out of the programme (2019-2020) will bring free and open WiFi to previously excluded communities.
Objective 2: Privacy, data protection and security
With smart city programmes across the world implementing cutting-edge technological solutions, ensuring that privacy by-design and GDPR compliance are at the core of all projects is essential. Smart Dublin have invested in the upskilling of our programme staff in data protection practices and have improved our internal processes to interrogate and mitigate data privacy risks across the programme. As part of this work, Smart Dublin works closely with our local government colleagues and our industry partners to ensure that the privacy, data protection and security are central components of all programme activities
Objective 4: Participatory Democracy, diversity and inclusion
With one of the youngest and most diverse catchment areas in Ireland, Fingal County Council based in the north of Dublin, are working to develop technological solutions to help reach traditionally excluded communities. From apps that gamify participation in local consultation, to video-based solutions that promote community interaction, pilots to date present exciting new ways to elevate unheard voices.
For people with reduced mobility or different mobility needs, getting from A to B is not always straightforward. Legacy planning issues, coupled with a lack of awareness regarding publicly placed obstacles can cause difficulty for many people such as wheelchair users or people with prams. In the Smart Dublin SBIR Wayfinding Challenge initiated by Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland sought innovative solutions to improve way-finding. Route4U secured funding to develop and pilot their innovative, app-based, accessibility solution.
Ethics and the Smart City
In 2019 Smart Dublin launched an “Ethics and the Smart City” research partnership with Maynooth University to explore ethical issues relating to the Smart Dublin programme. The partnership includes: case-study analysis of Smart Dublin projects through an ethical lens, development of ethics check tools, and embedding ethics in day-to-day programme management practices. Smart Dublin have worked with Visby (Sweden) and Belfast (Northern Ireland) as part of this initiative to share peer-to-peer learning.