To embark on this process, Mississauga first began benchmarking by comparing case studies of Smart Cities such as Barcelona and Tallinn, which demonstrated that a lack of public engagement at the beginning of a process can result in push-back from the public. This insight fuelled the need for including the community in the planning process from the early stages of Smart City development.
To meet their goal of becoming a Smart City, the city developed a comprehensive public engagement plan to be implemented with its various communities and neighbourhoods. Mississauga’s SMRT CTY Master Plan considers what is prioritized by the community and establishes what is needed of the government to align their projects to these priorities. Through a series of workshops and idea sessions, the municipality not only educated the public around the benefits of smart products, services and processes, but also garnered an understanding of the communities’ concerns. These sessions allowed the residents to collaborate with city staff in proposing low-cost solutions for a range of local issues.
What did we learn from Mississauga?
Public engagement allowed Mississauga to understand and integrate the community’s values of inclusion, accessibility and mobility within each of its Smart City projects.
Based on the understanding that the future of its growth is entirely dependent on the values and quality of life of its communities, Mississauga was able to develop a strategic plan for its Smart City activities.