Smart society, part 2: how to strengthen our sense of community?

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We read or hear it every day: the old political recipes no longer work for today's divided society. So how do we deliver a message of connection? How do we develop a long-term vision that reaches beyond the next elections? In the second part of ‘Smart Society’, we try to identify some relevant trends and technologies, so that 'connection' does not become a hollow concept.

We read or hear it every day: the old political recipes no longer work for today's divided society. So how do we deliver a message of connection? How do we develop a long-term vision that reaches beyond the next elections? In the second part of ‘Smart Society’, we try to identify some relevant trends and technologies, so that 'connection' does not become a hollow concept.

We read or hear it every day: the old political recipes no longer work for today's divided society. So how do we deliver a message of connection? How do we develop a long-term vision that reaches beyond the next elections? In the second part of ‘Smart Society’, we try to identify some relevant trends and technologies, so that 'connection' does not become a hollow concept.

What are we seeing? More division, and more radical. Today's critical citizen is outspoken, and the (social) media reinforce these divisions, be they factual or fictional. One thing is clear: the political waters are too deep for solutions across party lines. Therefore, we will look increasingly to the local authorities, which have the strongest connection with the citizen. This will be the support base to make important choices, to reach more people and to build society effectively.

What can we conclude from these few examples?

Today, enquiries among various stakeholders such as supra-local government and knowledge institutions, give us negative or wait-and-see feedback. Policymakers are often hesitant and react via their own existing experiences and recipes... and therefore often cannot see the possibilities and feasibility of these new trends and concepts in practice. Keeping an open mind is an essential part of being able to embrace a new trend or concept.

Belgium and more specifically Flanders, has a specific context when it comes to the trends, technologies, changes and challenges outlined above. The 3rd part of this article, "Smart Society", will map this specific context before we proceed to our (future) vision.

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