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The cities of Charlotte and West Palm Beach and The Underline in Miami are the latest participants to trial an open-source communication standard created to increase transparency, legibility and accountability of digital technology in public places.

Thanks to an investment from the John S and James L Knight Foundation, the cities have been selected to participate in the Knight Community Digital Trust for Places and Routines Programme.

Building digital trust

The Digital Trust for Places and Routines (DTPR) is stewarded by Helpful Places that helps organisations, and the communities they serve, harness the power of technology in ways that are transparent, inclusive, participatory, and in alignment with the community’s goals. Supporting DTPR implementations is one of a variety of ways the organisation achieves this achieves this by enabling “human agency in the world’s shared spaces”.

A blogpost by Helpful Places on Medium explains that citizens and visitors to Charlotte, The Underline in Miami and West Palm Beach will be able to engage with DTPR in a number of ways: accessing clear information about technology deployments, understanding data collection practices; empowering them to make informed choices and contribute to their communities’ technological developments.

The communities will also be actively seeking feedback from residents and visitors through intercept surveys and other engagement formats.

The core of the DTPR communication standard is a taxonomy of concepts around digital tech and data practices, and a set of icons to quickly and clearly communicate those concepts. These components can then expressed in a number of ways – from physical signage to digital channels for communication – which together, help visualise and convey how a digital system works.

Charlotte is using the DTPR standard for the PoleVolt electric vehicle charger in Belmont and the TravelSafely app, which connects users in South End to a network of traffic intersections, pedestrian beacons, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Signs have been installed in Belmont and South End to inform residents and visitors about the technologies. The signs use a set of icons to visually communicate the type of technology being used and its purpose. They include QR codes and a URL for people to seek more information and provide feedback via a dedicated webpage. The City of Charlotte will also be actively seeking feedback through in-person and online surveys.

“We are proud of how the City of Charlotte continues to leverage technology to build opportunity for residents and businesses to thrive,” said mayor Vi Lyles. “Gathering community feedback on how we use digital technology will help us ensure we achieve our goals toward equity, sustainability and economic growth.”

Charlotte’s participation in the DTPR pilot is a key component of SmartCLT 2027, a smart city strategic framework that builds resident-centric strategies around privacy and data rights, digital equity, and digitally interconnected infrastructure. DTPR will empower residents to weigh in on decisions around which technologies are used and how they improve the entire community.

The Underline project is transforming the land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10‑mile linear park, urban trail, and public art destination. According to Medium, DTPR has been identified as an approach that would support The Underline’s Technology Master Plan, guiding the principle of “transparency and participation”, by implementing a mechanism that enables communication to the public and support opportunities to involve residents in shaping the location’s data collection and tech implementation practices.

Meanwhile, the use of the DTPR standard in West Palm Beach in collaboration with Florida Atlantic University has the potential to provide legibility and a framework for internal and external communication about the City’s use of smart city technologies and support future community engagement efforts.


Quelle/Source: Smart Cities World, 27.09.2023

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