The improvement of the quality of life in the framework of the smartcity paradigm cannot be limited to a set of objective measures carried out over several critical parameters (e.g. noise, air pollution). The citizen's perception of the problem to be solved, as well as the perception of the improvement achieved with the policies defined for this purpose, is more important than the objectivity and the measurement of the change achieved. A first auralization approach for the evaluation of the acoustic perception of street noise is presented in this work. The wireless acoustic sensor network can pick up street noise, and can even record specific sounds that reach a higher equivalent level for study, but the most important thing for administration is whether the neighbour has noticed an improvement in the quality of life. This work is a first approximation to an estimation of the real perception of citizens of the street urban noises collected by a low-cost wireless acoustic sensor network.
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Too often citizen engagement is seen with suspicion, skepticism or fear by policymakers. Yet let me offer two compelling reasons why it is necessary, feasible and useful to do it:
1. Citizens are central to governance. Although this may seem straightforward, oftentimes governments, international organizations, and academia can be very inward-looking, with a focus more on processes, systems, and organizational structures rather than the people those institutions and systems are meant to serve. To make a difference for development, institutions need to be visible and valuable to citizens.
2. Engaging citizens do not need to be complicated. Naysayers think that involving citizens can slow down reform processes, but in my experience, the reverse is true. The effectiveness of many public policies depends on the response of citizens and businesses. If citizens are engaged effectively and on a timely basis, such responses may be more predictable, preventing costly mistakes and saving governments a lot of time and money in the long term.
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