The Covid-19 epidemic has brought forward new challenges for the development of smart and sustainable cities. It is not sufficient anymore just to focus on providing services for quality of life, or for a better business ecosystem. It is as important to provide efficient and effective services and also prepare cities so that they can manage, maintain and ensure city services and enhance the quality of life in the face of crisis, and natural disasters.
To create and operate smart, sustainable and resilient cities, new competences (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) must be developed and new curriculums for new job profiles should be define and developed. One such role is Open Data City Officer another is the Smart City Resilience Officer (https://crisisproject.eu)
It is common knowledge that Smart Cities (SC) are producing a high volume of data, originating from the urban environment, the use of public services, traffic noise levels, population projections among many others. During, the last years there is a growing global trend for systematically studying and opening data.
The European Commission is supporting open data initiatives through https://data.europe.eu where datasets are available under the category “regions and cities”. These datasets are referring to a variety of issues (e.g. Parking slots, election results, quality of life, environment).
At the skills development level, several organizations, HEIs and VET providers are offering courses and eLearning resources on open data development and exploitation. For example, data.europe.eu is offering a large number of open data eLearning modules. Similarly, USA federal CDO council in its strategy is defining the Federal Chief Data Officer position.
Other organizations such as Open Data Institute are offering selected courses on the topic. These are a few of the many systematic training offerings available worldwide.
Even though educational offerings on open data are available we are lacking:
- an occupational profile that is focusing on smart cities’ open data at the European level
- a systematic curriculum able to cover all different aspects of an Open Data City Officer – OpenDCO.
The above two factors constitute the main contribution of this project which is considered quite important taking into account the impact open data may have on the economic growth of the European Cities.
Up to now, little emphasis has been given to the way smart cities/municipalities are organized to decide upon such issues and even less on training the personnel on the new skills required. Smart cities development was mainly considered as a technological problem. However, today smart cities are viewed as ecosystems and an important aspect for their development is the availability of well-educated and qualified personnel. In this direction, the SmartDevOps project (https://smartdevops.eu) was a pioneer project, where three of the current project partners (UNIC, UTH and HOU) cooperated and successfully developed three new occupational profiles for smart cities. These profiles are smart city planner, smart city IT head and smart city IT expert.
Subsequently, a new ERASMUS+ project named CRISIS was formed aiming at defining the occupational profile of Smart City Resilient Officer. Smart cities staff need to be educated and upskilled in the development and exploitation of open data leading to the need for a new job profile named “Open Data City Officer – OpenDCO”.