To date, there has been too much focus on the role of industry and governments as the catalysts of technology-enabled progress, an emphasis on top-down solutions, and on centralised, proprietary systems. Efficiency, innovation and transparency are urgent priorities. But something is missing – the aspirations, anxieties and abilities of individuals, communities and businesses as they struggle to survive, and thrive, in the face of daunting global challenges.

The Smart Citizens theme and publication builds on a strand of talks and workshops at the FutureEverything Summit in March 2013 which sought to bring together for the first time some of the key voices developing the emerging discourse around Smart Citizens.

Our goal is to shift the debate towards the central place of citizens in smart city design, and to decentralised, open urban infrastructures. But this isn’t just about local innovation. It’s also about global collaboration. Which is why we also set out to introduce new thinking about ways citizens in one city can share and recombine the best new ideas and technologies from elsewhere across the globe. Because the value of bringing citizens into the process is that only they can turn cookie-cutter corporate plans for the Smart City into designs that are truly bespoke.