Communication Building City Identities: Communication as a Key Enabler for Dynamic Urbanism in Smart City Environments


Why are some cities so appealing, despite their weak quality of life indicators? Dynamic cities like Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, New York and Rome rank poorly in some life standards indicators, despite thriving economically, being specialized workforce magnets and innovation sources when compared to neighbour regions. In a fast-paced, mobile world, where innovation is one of the key economic growth sources, we believe that cities should develop unique identities in order to appeal to talented professionals that can enhance its economic importance. The usual strategies to building a city identity are based on contemporary urbanism theories, in which urban interventions try to change citizen’s behaviours, that will, become new population dynamics and change the citizen’s image of the city. Despite being useful, these approaches usually demand time and resources that, being subject to political demands of public administration, may compromise the project's development. Our research brings a proposition based on communication that reverses this process. First, a strong communications strategy should be built to change citizens views and perspectives of their city. Then, urban interventions could be proposed to show what can be done. After that, a public dialog can be developed to create an ongoing conversation on participatory city growth. We believe that a communications-based approach is essential in smart cities, where a coordinated data communications policy could build information constructs that reflect city identity strategies, aiming to enable citizens to better interact with their urban context and demand changes that can enhance their economic output and life standards.

Author Information
Luiz Guilherme Antunes, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil
Vera da Cunha Pasqualin, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

Paper Information
Conference: CITY2017
Stream: Global cross-cultural comparisons

This paper is part of the CITY2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon