Canadian Political Science Association (Congress 2017)

Date: May 31, 2017 | Time: 02:00pm to 03:30pm | Location: Ryerson University VIC-104 (Victoria Building)

Chair/Président: David Wolfe (University of Toronto)

Discussant/Commentateur: David Ticoll (University of Toronto)

Participants & Authors/Auteurs:

Nicole Goodman (University of Toronto), Zachary Spicer (Brock University) : Conceptual Clarity and Smart Cities Research

Abstract: By 2050, 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. Increasingly, cities are looking to information and communication technologies (ICTs) to help manage urban density and address present and future challenges. Currently, there is a patchwork of 14 terms and definitions, including ‘smart city’ and ‘intelligent community,’ related to governing future cities and little agreement about their definition. Furthermore, the characteristics, dimensions, models or other types of frameworks used to understand these terms often lack conceptual clarity. This paper examines the various frameworks used to understand the terms ‘smart city’ and ‘intelligent community’ and devises a comprehensive shared framework. Specifically, we employ an evolutionary concept analysis and rely on expert consultations to achieve consensus of antecedents, attributes, and consequences of smart city and intelligent community frameworks presented in scholarly and technical documents. Our findings provide a comprehensive, clear definition and conceptual framework of the terms smart city/intelligent community for researchers and policymakers. A shared framework provides many practical benefits for understanding and guiding smart city/intelligent community initiatives.

Nicole Goodman (University of Toronto), Zachary Spicer (Brock University), David Wolfe (Munk School of Global Affairs) : The Digital Divide and the Administrative Gap in Canadian Intelligent Communities Implementation

Abstract: Administrative Gap in Canadian Intelligent Communities Implementation.” Key to the creation of Smart Cities is the implementation of digital opportunities and infrastructure, which is an integral part of the digitization of public services. The process of determining which services should move online and be made more accessible can prove challenging. In this paper, we rely on results from a survey administered to a national sample of residents, and surveys completed by local administrators and politicians in 33 Canadian CMAs to gauge impressions of Smart City services and innovation. The findings in this paper demonstrate that the preferences of citizens, administrators and politicians are not always aligned when it comes to the digitization of local services. We discuss implications for the future of service delivery and technological development at the city and community level.

Chelsea Gabel (McMaster University) : Technology in Indigenous Communities in Canada: Implications for Participation and Governance

Abstract: Indigenous communities across Canada are adopting technology to create digital opportunities for their community members and to enhance local participation and governance. One recent trend in the adoption of online services is the use of online voting for elections and other types of votes To date more than 20 communities have used the technology, with many more initiating plans to follow suit. Examining the case of Wasauksing First Nation, an Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi community located near Parry Sound, Ontario with a population of 1090 (369 on reserve) we explore the opportunities and challenges online voting presents for participation and governance in Indigenous communities and implications for future adoption of online services at the community level. Our case specifically assesses a December 2016 Land Code vote where online voting was introduced to help achieve the necessary participation threshold for the ratification proceedings. Drawing on surveys of online and paper voters as well as surveys and interviews with local government administrators we examine how online voting impacts perceptions of participation and governance among these groups, attitudes toward other possible digital opportunities for on and off-reserve members, and assess the degree to which technology can be leveraged as a tool to enhance community capacity, or perhaps limit it.

Sandra Breux (INRS-UCS), Jérémy Diaz (Université du Québec à Montréal) : Smart Cities, Elected Officials and Local Administrators: Beyond the Contradictions

Abstract: In Canada, and particularly in Quebec, municipal officials frequently refer to smart cities as being a necessity, a new essential reality for cities regardless of its characteristics. This constant desire to refer of a city as ‘smart’ is especially surprising as they do not appear to exist—despite being the subject of studies and analyses across various disciplines and given the writings on the subject and its commonly cited descriptions. Though we know the consequences of smart cities from political and urban planning perspectives, which are far from negligible, many other limitations are also beginning to be identified by the scientific community as well. Even less commonly known however is the way in which elected officials and local administrators position themselves in reaction to smart cities beyond the political discourse and media announcements as well as the mechanisms they undertake to avoid falling into the trap of a polysemic concept. Beginning with the processes that an average city in the province of Quebec undertakes to become ‘smart’, the goal of our presentation is two-fold. It will serve as a reconsideration of the positioning of administrators and elected officials regarding smart cities in the context of an average city in Quebec. This portrait will be presented as an analysis grid for smart cities co-constructed alongside an average-sized city. The strengths and limitations of smart cities that are extracted from this analysis grid will then provide


Cities and communities are largely driving government innovation and government adoption of technology in Canada. More nimble and open to integrating technology, there are an increasing number of examples where local governments are leveraging technology to provide better and more transparent services, develop critical infrastructure, and transform the ways in which government officials and citizens converse and engage with one another. These developments are changing the production and delivery of local level services, and have important implications for participatory governance. We propose a panel that examines the ways in which cities and communities in Canada are using new technology to advance policy, program delivery and the opportunities and challenges they face in the process. Papers on the panel clarify how we should think about and define the ideal future city and the role of technology in local government, compare resident and local government perceptions of about online service delivery and other digital opportunities, and explore online voting and the potential for the delivery of other digital services in Indigenous communities in Canada. The overall narrative will present new knowledge about attitudes toward technology and implications of its use, and the role of technology in the future of “smart cities” and other communities in Canada.