The key CitySDK effort is making (digital) services available to citizens, while unifying and simplifying the development process. Cities are working hard to build a valid toolkit which has to be standard, interoperable, scalable and easy to be exploited by other Cities willing to support the ecosystem.
By initially focusing on three distinct domains – Participation, Mobility and Tourism – CitySDK also defines which problem each API should address in terms of what “families” of city issues/problems should inspire API and Pilot application development – and here’s where questions arise: Is whatever is useful for for city A as useful for city B? Inevitably, different contexts will focus on different social needs.
Since before the project started it was evident that, while certain sub-domains were easily “portable” within all the cities composing the partnership in terms of how the issues they address are popular among citizens, others weren’t given the same level of priority by other cities – which is natural, given the different social realities encompassed by CitySDK.
So, while all cities may easily adopt a system helping citizens find or signal missing Wi-Fi hotspots, locate/request charging station for electric vehicle, report holes on the street and so on, things may be a bit different for other issue reporting concepts such as jobs and vocational training. In fact, it was not necessarily immediate for everyone to understand why the city of Rome would make massive efforts towards the development of a system focusing on reporting jobs and training opportunities for the Smart Participation domain, an idea originally proposed and carried out by CitySDK (and Commons4Europe) partner Lynx S.r.l. with Province of Rome. By the way, if you look at youth unemployment rates in EU, you’ll find that Italy has the highest percentage of Neets – at least among CitySDK partner countries – and this is obviously the main factor suggesting the idea of throwing jobs and vocational training into the CitySDK Smart Participation domain as tightly connected factors to carry out active employment policies.
The proprietary local layer for CitySDK sustainability
Of course, while an Open311 compatible API layer handling labor and vocational training issue reporting is being implemented and will be fully portable within the CitySDK framework, local infrastructures and regulations called for an additional proprietary layer of development. Moreover, since 2008 Italy is among the few countries where every single employment contract, even if just one day long, must be register through the information system of Provincia di Roma to be sent to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies main information system, creating a massive amount of stored information; such data is then exploited by the city-proprietary layer OpenLabor aiming, among other tasks, to guide the citizen towards a better evaluation of her/his potential through a complex process involving semantic analysis based on ontologies.
Ultimately, the forthcoming integration between the PES (Public Employment Services) information system of Provincia di Roma and the CitySDK fostered application is meant to ensure sustainability over time and, possibly, to facilitate its adoption by other compatible PES systems in other Italian Provinces.