||This article may be confusing or unclear to readers. (May 2015)|
A smart city (also smarter city) uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. Sectors that have been developing smart city technology include government services, transport and traffic management, energy, health care, water and waste. Smart city applications are developed with the goal of improving the management of urban flows and allowing for real time responses to challenges. A smart city may therefore be more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple 'transactional' relationship with its citizens. Other terms that have been used for similar concepts include ‘cyberville, ‘digital city’’, ‘electronic communities’, ‘flexicity’, ‘information city’, 'intelligent city', ‘knowledge-based city, 'MESH city', ‘telecity, ‘teletopia’’, 'Ubiquitous city', ‘wired city’.
Major technological, economic and environmental changes have generated interest in smart cities, including climate change, economic restructuring, the move to online retail and entertainment, ageing populations, and pressures on public finances. The European Union (EU) has devoted constant efforts to devising a strategy for achieving 'smart' urban growth for its metropolitan city-regions. The EU has developed a range of programmes under ‘Europe’s Digital Agenda". In 2010, it highlighted its focus on strengthening innovation and investment in ICT services for the purpose of improving public services and quality of life. Arup estimates that the global market for smart urban services will be $400 billion per annum by 2020. Examples of Smart City technologies and programs have been implemented in Southampton, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Stockholm.
Due to the breadth of technologies that have been implemented under the smart city label, it is difficult to distil a precise definition of a smart city. Deakin and Al Wear list four factors that contribute to the definition of a smart city:
- The application of a wide range of electronic and digital technologies to communities and cities
- The use of ICT to transform life and working environments within the region
- The embedding of such ICTs in government systems
- The territorialisation of practices that brings ICTs and people together to enhance the innovation and knowledge that they offer.
Deakin defines the smart city as one that utilises ICT to meet the demands of the market (the citizens of the city), and that community involvement in the process is necessary for a smart city. A smart city would thus be a city that not only possesses ICT technology in particular areas, but has also implemented this technology in a manner that impacts the local community.
Alternative definitions include:
- Giffinger et al. 2007: "Regional competitiveness, transport and Information and Communication Technologies economics, natural resources, human and social capital, quality of life, and participation of citizens in the governance of cities."
- Smart Cities Council[when?]: "A smart city is one that has digital technology embedded across all city functions."[full citation needed]
- Caragliu and Nijkamp 2009: "A city can be defined as ‘smart’ when investments in human and social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources, through participatory action and engagement."
- Frost & Sullivan 2014: "We identified eight key aspects that define a Smart City: smart governance, smart energy, smart building, smart mobility, smart infrastructure, smart technology, smart healthcare and smart citizen."
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Smart Cities: "A smart city brings together technology, government and society to enable the following characteristics: smart cities, a smart economy, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, smart living, smart governance."[when?]
- Business Dictionary: "A developed urban area that creates sustainable economic development and high quality of life by excelling in multiple key areas; economy, mobility, environment, people, living, and government. Excelling in these key areas can be done so through strong human capital, social capital, and/or ICT infrastructure."[when?]
- Indian Government 2014 : "Smart City offers sustainability in terms of economic activities and employment opportunities to a wide section of its residents, regardless of their level of education, skills or income levels."
- Department for Business, Innovation and Skills,UK 2013: "The concept is not static, there is no absolute definition of a smart city, no end point, but rather a process, or series of steps, by which cities become more 'liveable' and resilient and, hence, able to respond quicker to new challenges."
- Dr S.Himesh: A Smart City is an intrinsically sustainable city which recognizes the physical limits to its growth without compromising the quality of life of the present and future generations. A smart city must also be modular and dynamic in nature and has the ability to adopt and evolve with time without compromising the ecological integrity and quality of life of its inhabitants. Smart city must recognize its limits to economic and employment opportunities within the limits of assured natural resources, supportive and assimilative capacity of the region. A smart city can never be built with an open ended growth.
- Make more efficient use of physical infrastructure (roads, built environment and other physical assets) through artificial intelligence and data analytics to support a strong and healthy economic, social, cultural development.
- Engage effectively with local people in local governance and decision by use of open innovation processes and e-participation, improving the collective intelligence of the city’s institutions through E-Governance, with emphasis placed on citizen participation and co-design.
- Learn, adapt and innovate and thereby respond more effectively and promptly to changing circumstances by improving the intelligence of the city.
They evolve towards a strong integration of all dimensions of human intelligence, collective intelligence, and also artificial intelligence within the city. The intelligence of cities "resides in the increasingly effective combination of digital telecommunication networks (the nerves), ubiquitously embedded intelligence (the brains), sensors and tags (the sensory organs), and software (the knowledge and cognitive competence)".
These forms of intelligence in smart cities have been demonstrated in three ways:
: 1. Orchestration intelligence
Where cities establish institutions and community-based problem solving and collaborations, such as in Bletchley Park, where the Nazi Enigma cypher was decoded by a team led by Alan Turing. This has been referred to as the first example of a smart city or an intelligent community.
- 2. Empowerment intelligence
Cities provide open platforms, experimental facilities and smart city infrastructure in order to cluster innovation in certain districts. These are seen in the Kista Science City in Stockholm and the Cyberport Zone in Hong Kong. Similar facilities have also been established in Melbourne.
- 3. Instrumentation intelligence
Where city infrastructure is made smart through real time data collection, with analysis and predictive modelling across city districts. There is much controversy surrounding this, particularly with regards to surveillance issues in smart cities
- a. A common IP infrastructure that is open to researchers to develop applications.
- b. Wireless meters and devices transmit information at the point in time.
- c. A number of homes being provided with smart energy meters to become aware of energy consumption and reduce energy usage
- d. Solar power garbage compactors, car recharging stations and energy saving lamps.
Some major fields of intelligent city activation are:
|Innovation economy||Urban infrastructure||Governance|
|Innovation in industries, clusters, districts of a city||Transport||Administration services to the citizen|
|Knowledge workforce: Education and employment||Energy / Utilities||Participatory and direct democracy|
|Creation of knowledge-intensive companies||Protection of the environment / Safety||Services to the citizen: Quality of life|
Platforms and technologies
The rise of new Internet technologies promoting cloud-based services, the Internet of Things (IoT), real-world user interfaces, use of smart phones and smart meters, networks of sensors and RFIDs, and more accurate communication based on the semantic web, open new ways to collective action and collaborative problem solving.
Online collaborative sensor data management platforms are on-line database services that allow sensor owners to register and connect their devices to feed data into an on-line database for storage and allow developers to connect to the database and build their own applications based on that data.
The city of Santander in northern Spain has 20,000 sensors connecting buildings, infrastructure, transport, networks and utilities, offers a physical space for experimentation and validation of the IoT functions, such as interaction and management protocols, device technologies, and support services such as discovery, identity management and security In Santander, the sensors monitor the levels of pollution, noise, traffic and parking.
Electronic cards (known as smart cards) are another common platform in smart city contexts. These cards possess a unique encrypted identifier that allows the owner to log in to a range of government provided services (or e-services) without setting up multiple accounts. The single identifier allows governments to aggregate data about citizens and their preferences to improve the provision of services and to determine common interests of groups. This technology has been implemented in Southampton.
University research labs have developed prototypes and solutions for intelligent cities. MIT Smart Cities Lab  focuses upon intelligent, sustainable buildings, mobility systems (GreenWheel Electric Bicycle, Mobility-on-Demand, Citycar, Wheel Robots); the IntelCities  research consortium developed solutions for electronic government, planning systems and citizen participation; URENIO has developed a series of intelligent city platforms for the innovation economy  focusing on strategic intelligence, technology transfer, collaborative innovation, and incubation, while is offering, through its portal, a global watch on intelligent cities research and planning; the Smart Cities Academic Network  is working on e-governance and e-services in the North Sea region.
Large IT and telecommunication companies such as Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft have developed new solutions and initiatives for intelligent cities as well. Cisco, launched the Global Intelligent Urbanization initiative  to help cities around the world using the network as the fourth utility for integrated city management, better quality of life for citizens, and economic development. IBM announced its SmarterCities  to stimulate economic growth and quality of life in cities and metropolitan areas with the activation of new approaches of thinking and acting in the urban ecosystem.
Major strategies and achievements related to the spatial intelligence of cities are listed in the Intelligent Community Forum awards from 1999 to 2010, in the cities of Suwon (South Korea), Stockholm (Sweden), Gangnam District of Seoul (South Korea), Waterloo, Ontario (Canada), Taipei (Taiwan), Mitaka (Japan), Glasgow (Scotland, UK), Calgary (Alberta, Canada), Seoul (South Korea), New York City (USA), LaGrange, Georgia (USA), Tehran (Iran) and Singapore, which were recognized for their efforts in developing broadband networks and e-services sustaining innovation ecosystems, growth, and inclusion.
There are a number of cities actively pursuing a smart city strategy:
The Amsterdam Smart City initiative which began in 2009 currently includes 79 projects collaboratively developed by local residents, government and businesses. These projects run on an interconnected platform through wireless devices to enhance the city’s real time decision making abilities. The City of Amsterdam (City) claims the purpose of the projects is to reduce traffic, save energy and improve public safety. To promote efforts from local residents, the City runs the Amsterdam Smart City Challenge annually, accepting proposals for applications and developments that fit within the City’s framework. An example of a resident developed app is Mobypark, which allows owners of parking spaces to rent them out to people for a fee. The data generated from this app can then be used by the City to determine parking demand and traffic flows in Amsterdam. A number of homes have also been provided with smart energy meters, with incentives provided to those that actively reduce energy consumption. Other initiatives include flexible street lighting which allows municipalities to control the brightness of street lights, and smart traffic management where traffic is monitored in real time by the City and information about current travel time on certain roads is broadcast to allow motorists to determine the best routes to take.
Barcelona has established a number of projects that can be considered ‘smart city’ applications .For example, sensor technology has been implemented in the irrigation system in Parc del Centre de Poblenou, where real time data is transmitted to gardening crews about the level of water required for the plants. Barcelona has also designed a new bus network based on data analysis of the most common traffic flows in Barcelona, utilising primarily vertical, horizontal and diagonal routes with a number of interchanges. Integration of multiple smart city technologies can be seen through the implementation of smart traffic lights as buses run on routes designed to optimise the number of green lights. In addition, where an emergency is reported in Barcelona, the approximate route of the emergency vehicle is entered into the traffic light system, setting all the lights to green as the vehicle approaches through a mix of GPS and traffic management software, allowing emergency services to reach the incident without delay. Much of this data is being developed into practical solutions in the 22@Barcelona District.
Stockholm’s smart city technology is underpinned by the Stokab dark fibre system  which was developed in 1994 to provide a universal fibre optic network across Stockholm. Private companies are able to lease fibre as service providers on equal terms. The company is owned by the City of Stockholm itself. Within this framework, Stockholm has created a Green IT strategy. The Green IT program seeks to reduce the environmental impact of Stockholm through IT functions such as energy efficient buildings (minimising heating costs), traffic monitoring (minimising the time spent on the road) and development of e-services (minimising paper usage). The e-Stockholm platform is centred on the provision of e-services, including political announcements, parking space booking and snow clearance. This is further being developed through GPS analytics, allowing residents to plan their route through the city. An example of district-specific smart city technology can be found in the Kista SCience City region. This region is based on the triple helix concept of smart cities, where university, industry and government work together to develop ICT applications for implementation in a smart city strategy.
An alternative use of smart city technology can be found in Santa Cruz, California, where local authorities analyse historical crime data in order to predict police requirements and maximise police presence where it is required. The analytical tools generate a list of 10 places each day where property crimes are more likely to occur, and then placing police efforts on these regions when officers are not responding to any emergency. This use of ICT technology is different to the manner in which European cities utilise smart city technology, possibly highlighting the breadth of the smart city concept in different parts of the world.
The criticisms of smart cities revolve around:
- A bias in strategic interest may lead to ignoring alternative avenues of promising urban development.
- The focus of the concept of smart city may lead to an underestimation of the possible negative effects of the development of the new technological and networked infrastructures needed for a city to be smart.
- As a globalized business model is based on capital mobility, following a business-oriented model may result in a losing long term strategy: "The 'spatial fix' inevitably means that mobile capital can often 'write its own deals' to come to town, only to move on when it receives a better deal elsewhere. This is no less true for the smart city than it was for the industrial, [or] manufacturing city."
- The high level of big data collection and analytics has raised questions regarding surveillance in smart cities, particularly as it relates to predictive policing.
- "Cities hack their way to livability gains". Smart Cities Council.
Hackathons bring together the good hackers in an organized competition to see who can make the biggest contribution to the community in 24 hours or less.
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- Dept Business(2013) Page 7 "As consumers of private goods and services we have been empowered by the Web and, as citizens, we expect the same quality from our public services. In turn, public authorities are seeking to reduce costs and raise performance by adopting similar approaches in the delivery of public services. However, the concept of a Smart City goes way beyond the transactional relationships between citizen and service provider. It is essentially enabling and encouraging the citizen to become a more active and participative member of the community"
- Dept Business(2013) Page 5 "Challenges Faced by Cities and the Need for Smarter Approaches"
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The smart city sector is still in the "I know it when I see it" phase, without a universally agreed definition. The Council defines a smart city as one that has digital technology embedded across all city functions
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- Most recently published first
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- Townsend, Antony (2013). Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393082873.
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- Cities of the future? Indian PM pushes plan for 100 'smart cities' (CNN)
- Can open data power a smart city revolution? (The Guardian)
- Smarter cities Articles in The Guardian tagged 'smarter cities'
- Tomorrow's cities: Do you want to live in a smart city? (BBC News)
- The Future of Cities -The Internet of Everything will Change How We Live Article by John Chambers and Wim Elfrink for the Council on Foreign Relations
- The six steps to a Smarter City; and the philosophical imperative for taking them Article by Rick Robinson of IBM
- Getting Smarter About Smart Cities by Robert Puentes and Adie Tomer for the Brookings Institution
- Smart Cities: Collaboration is Key to Realizing Technology’s Promise published by University of California, Berkeley
- Towards Common Data Standards for Smart Cities and Their Buildings by Michael Jansen, Cityzenith
- Nanette Byrnes, Cities Find Rewards in Cheap Technologies, MIT Technology Review, November 18, 2014
- World Bank blog posts tagged 'smart city'
- National initiatives
- UK Budget 2015 funding for smart cities development
- British Standards Institute initiative on Smart Cities
- Future of Cities UK Government 'Foresight' Project on cities
- Future Cities Catapult A UK government funded 'global centre of excellence on urban innovation'.
- "Songdo International Business District Master Plan".
- "About i-Canada Alliance". Aiming to make 'all Canadian communities – large and small, urban and rural – into Intelligent Communities
-  Investment Potential of Smart Cities - An Indian Perspective - Research Report by iData Insights 2015