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Smart Cities Strategies: A Global Review

Cities around the world are embracing the concept of becoming smart but they don’t always realize the level of transformation needed to reach this goal.

Cities are living entities, fast-paced change happening almost every hour. In order to effectively implement change, smarter services are needed alongside with smarter technologies. If cities do not tackle the issue of change, the technologies will disrupt their way of working.

Why cities engage in the smart cities agenda ? What kind of challenges do they meet along the way ? How are they attempting to solve them ? 21 cities were studied in order to lay out some of the principles and patterns seen across smart city strategies today.

Lately, the vision of what a smart-city should be evolved towards a more citizen-centred approach rather than solely technology driven. While the disruption induced by technology was a fast one, governments were slow to react and understand the deepest implication of such changes in the life of citizens. To respond to the needs of residents governments launched smart-cities strategies with broad ambitions. Most of the time they cover the range of economic, social and environmental outcomes. As time went by governments were able to refine strategies through collaborative engagement with city stakeholders and citizens. 

The main recommendations for a working smart-city strategy are :

- Establish strong leadership to develop skills and capacity within local government to deliver at-scale smart city projects,
- Embed your smart city strategy within existing statutory frameworks,
- When creating your smart city strategy, consider a collaborative approach, coupled with strong political support,
- Tap into core city funding by regularly scanning your existing city assets and budgets,
- Create a plan for private sector collaboration, as well as a designated person or team for communicating with businesses and investors. 


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