Technology can help solve many of the problems cities face today. But technology alone is never the answer. Connected communities and engaged citizens are key components that are as important as technology.

What is a Smart City?

Generally, the term smart city refers to using the capacity of a city to create and adopt solutions for overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities that transform “the place we call home.” 

Citizens First

Smart city success depends on an involved community. Smart city leaders should start with initiatives that residents find useful. Focusing on the causes of problems will lead to designing an environment that motivates people. Smart urban planning and design makes it easy for people to act smartly. (example!)

Smart cities need to engage citizens, giving them a place where they want to live and the will to change and the will to act. What good is an IoT device that monitors pollution if the will to change behavior is missing?

It is key to create a participative, open, transparent and inclusive ecosystem for driving smart initiatives. Success depends on taking all actors into account.

Engagement is Critical

Smart city projects start, not with technology, but with citizens. Leaders of smart city initiatives must listen to the citizens to make good decisions. The entire process should be a collaboration with residents. Frequently the first step to engagement is getting them connected to the ecosystem. Digital equality initiatives to connect underserved populations can go a long way toward gaining public support and buy-in to future projects. Involve locals in technology and field trials and solicit their feedback via community portals and social platforms, keep them informed about the progress through communication sessions and social media, and recognize achievements and celebrate successes.

Citizens Last

Engagement and acceptance by citizens will ultimately determine the success or failure of any smart city initiative. Thus, satisfied citizens should be the number one evaluation criteria for any project. After all, the people are why we are here, why we do what we do, and that includes any technology or smart city project.

Smart City Project Ideas

Walk [Your City] Most signage is designed for drivers; Walk [Your City] provides direction for those on foot, connecting them with data about where they are going.