Digital or smart cities are too often conceptualised in abstract theories which examine their potential in their own specific jargon. However, governing and innovating in this new kind of city demands new technical skills (knowing how to code, read and process data, understand algorithms, etc.), implies an evolution in the way stakeholders interact (making decisions and managing projects through constant collaboration within a network or platform), and requires rolling out new, precise and codified methods to unleash creative energies and make innovation possible.

This workshop proposes to deconstruct the professions and skills hidden behind the buzzwords of the new digital city: data scientist and community manager, agility and user experience, civic or user-centred design, co-design or co-production… How do these terms relate (or not) to the new professional practices, occupations and skills asked of those who govern and innovate within the digital city?

Through real-world experiences and experiments, this workshop seeks to interrogate the skills and professions which are demanded of/shared between various actors in the sector and to reflect on their contributions. Does a community manager in a regional body fulfil the same role as a community manager in a start-up? What exactly does the co-design of public policy mean, and what do the new project management methods bring to the table?

Secondly, the political and normative implications of these new ways of defining and creating the city will be examined by taking a step back from daily practice and looking at the issue from a certain distance. For instance, why is it important to assign someone to “translate” digital code into a political project, and which stakeholders can take on this mediation role? Or again, what is involved in managing and interacting with a networked community of actors?

Find out more about the Audacities project