Objectives of the toolkit:
  • Demonstrate the ways in which social equity considerations are central to urban planning and design, particularly in smart city developments that focus on technology and infrastructure.
  • Provide a set of guidelines for conducting stakeholder engagement that is geared towards achieving inclusive urban planning.
  • Suggest a framework for analysing and synthesizing the social equality impacts of smart projects.

This policy toolkit highlights the need to consider inclusivity in smart city projects and describes some participatory methodologies that may be employed to help meet this goal.

The “right to the city” framework is actively employed in the toolkit to argue for better governance approaches and urban agendas that protect rights to land and livelihoods of the urban poor and assert their claims for participation in the creation of smart cities. From a gender perspective, the toolkit also challenges the dominant assumption that “gender issues” simply equates to “women’s issues,” a belief which overlooks the relational dynamics of gender, as well as the cumulative effects of gender, sexuality, race, income, class, ability and age on the lived experience of urban residents. At the same time, the urban planning sector is male-dominated, which restricts the expression of experiences of other groups who live in urban areas.

The policy toolkit is informed by a research project titled “Entrepreneurial urbanization and masculine identities in Khon Kaen, Thailand”, which is funded by the Seed and Innovation Fund of the Stockholm Environment Institute. The project identified the constructions and performances of gender roles and identities of men in defining the conceptualization and implementation of smart city projects. The aim of the research was to identify the social preconditions needed for inclusive climate-relevant urban interventions and infrastructure projects across Asia.