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Adrian Smith, The Guardian, writes about Barcelona, a “pioneering Smart City,” that has been using sensors in various city infrastructure along with citizens via mobile devices “to monitor and anticipate urban phenomena in new ways, and, so the argument goes, efficiently manage urban activity for the benefit of ‘smart citizens.’”
Enter the residents living around Plaça de Sol, a popular square that has become, for residents, a bit too popular, especially with bars, restaurants, hotels, and tourists. And with the addition of more bars, restaurants, and tourists, comes more noise, always. So back in 2017, a group of technology activists got in touch with residents and started a project under which residents were given “tools to measure noise levels, compare them with officially permissible levels,” with the aim of reducing noise in the square.
And what followed shows how complicated the embrace of thick data and citizen engagement can be, as the residents’ desire to reduce noise has to be considered along with the needs of bar and restaurant owners. As a city councilman pointed out:
Beyond economic issues are questions of rights to public space, young peoples’ needs to socialise, neighbouring squares worried about displaced activity, the Council’s vision for Gràcia, and of course, the residents suffering the noise.
Click the link above to read this fascinating article.