In some cases, these coordination efforts have led to the creation of centralized platforms to which various actors contribute. For example, in 2019, Angers created an ambitious platform to supervise public services in 9 sectors, including water, lighting, waste, health and mobility management.
The challenge for cities is to understand who is involved in what, who collects which data and to encourage collaboration between public and private players. This requires changing the way data-related issues are taken care of inside cities. In 2014, Bordeaux created a new service to handle open-data, and in 2020 it designated a data administrator in charge of developing a new strategy for the city. Nice also re-organized its services: it placed its management of information systems under the responsibility of a General Secretary who oversees the city’s services. In parallel, it created a department in charge of innovation and the smart city, to promote the creation of new services.
French cities are taking action to digitalize and they are experiencing the common difficulties associated with technology. Transforming a city is no longer just about creating software, it’s also about facing the difficult challenge of transforming processes and practices. This requires mobilizing elected officials at the highest level. Over the past year and a half, Institut Montaigne conducted a detailed study of data mobilization projects in a number of French cities. In most cases where projects were successfully completed, elected officials were involved. Hence our message to cities and their elected representatives: think about your data!
Copyright: JOSEP LAGO / AFP