Key Terms

A glossary of frequently used terms in the Ethical Smart City Project.


The process of setting standards for your city based on your own ethical baseline to select other municipalities whose challenges and or values are aligned with yours.


A charrette is a collaborative and creative process that brings together diverse groups of students, professionals and community stakeholders to develop innovative solutions to complex problems.

Climate Change

Any significant long-term change in the expected patterns of average weather of a region (or the whole planet) over a significant period of time.


A process that involves the collaboration and engagement of users, planners, designers, architects and other stakeholder groups to design and create solutions from start to finish.


Rooted in participatory design methods, co-design is the act of creating products and services with stakeholders.

Collective Conscience

This refers to the set of shared beliefs, attitudes and knowledge that are common to a community.


Groups of people, localized in space, within an environmental and economic ecosystem. Communities can have a monolithic culture or exist at the intersection of different cultures.


A means to obtain information and input from a large sample group, usually done online over the internet.


A collaborative brainstorming process that works toward a certain output.


One-off events or gradually developed phenomena that cause a shift in behaviours and practices at a global scale. Disruptors can lead to considerable changes on both ends of the spectrum, from innovation to unrest.

Ethical Baseline

What your municipality hopes to avoid, achieve and allow as an Ethical Smart City.

Ethical Smart City

An Ethical Smart City has at its centre, engaged and diverse communities. The values of the communities guide Ethical Smart Cities to identify their challenges. By identifying systemic challenges and considering these values, Ethical Smart Cities can use appropriate technology to create ethical, sustainable, and inclusive solutions.


Ethics are the backbone of Ethical Smart Cities. They bring individuals, corporations, non-profits, public services and community groups together to coordinate efforts to build a resilient future.

Human-Centered Design

A design strategy that focuses on the people in the community to understand their challenges, needs and values. These people need to be integrated into designing the solution and iterating where needed.

Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge

This is a pan-Canadian competition open to all municipalities, local or regional governments and Indigenous communities (First Nations, Métis and Inuit). It is meant to empower communities to adopt a Smart Cities approach to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

International Technology Union’s (ITU)

Specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies.

Iterative Process

A process that is repeated to support the refinement of solutions.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Measurable criteria that show how a company, organization or team is effectively reaching their objectives.

Mass Migration

The movement of large numbers of people from one geographical area to another over a period of time for temporary or permanent residency.


World Health Organization (WHO) defines a pandemic as the worldwide spread of a new disease.


The right to be in control of the collection and sharing of personal or organizational information.


The process of creating a preliminary sample or model of a product to test the concept, evaluate the design and improve its quality and precision.

Public Engagement

The broad spectrum of methods through which members of the public become more informed about and/or influence public decisions because they have been empowered to do so. In a hierarchy of needs ways, it is a need-to-have element.

Quadruple Helix

An innovation framework that leverages interactions between university, industry, government and public sectors.


Defense against physical, social, financial and political harm; reduces risk of exposure to dangers.

Smart Cities

Cities that place deeply interconnected autonomous and effective technology systems at the forefront of its decision making.

Smart City Champion

A person and/or entity that drives Smart City initiatives in a municipality.

Smart City Projects

Smart City undertakings meant to address challenges.

Smart City Solutions

Smart City solutions are the result of the implementation of Smart City projects.


The equilibrium between effect on the environment or depleting natural resources while supporting social, economic and ecological balance.

Systemic Solutions

Solutions that are tested against available resources, economic and social structures; they are replicable, understandable and adaptable.

Triple Bottom Line

Economic, Environmental and Social sustainability.