While working in de Complex Projects in Chicago project my personal research entails an understanding of Smart cities. When performing research (going on the internet) on the topic it is hard to find one comprehensive description. Lets look at some examples that I have found.
To start off let’s take a look at what the search engine provides me:
The first hit, Wikipedia:
” 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. ”
But, after reading through the first paragraph, let’s look into the Terminology chapter:
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.”
Now look at all those definitions. And That’s only from what’s on Wikipedia! When I look into some Smart City planning documents there are still more definitions:
The concept is simple. A smarter London must be a place in which people want to live, work and play. It will foster talent, support and accommodate population growth and sustainable prosperity. A smarter London recognises and employs data as a service. It will enable informed decision making and the design of new activities. It will allow ‘business as usual’, with greater efficiency: easier, faster, cheaper. A smarter London is not a single, definitive solution, but a series of evolving interventions in response to our changing needs.
”Smart Cities improve lives. Currently, 31% of India’s population lives in cities; these cities also generate 63% of the nation’s economic activity. These numbers are rapidly increasing, with almost half of India’s population projected to live in its cities by 2030. Smart Cities focus on the most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities to improve quality of life for residents today and in the future.The Smart Cities Mission is a bold new initiative by the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens. Smart Cities focus on the most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities through careful planning.”
”The Smart City is a new concept defining a city that works to improve the quality of its citizens’ lives by guaranteeing sustainable social, economic and urban development. A smart city is based on the use and modernisation of new information and communication technologies (ICT) to provide more efficient management of the city’s services and resources.”
So, a smarter London, an overview of what a smart city supposedly does according to India and a city that works to improve quality of life. Among others. Although there are some overlapping elements, the use of ICT for example, I also see some things more important than others.
In order to better understand what a smart city is or could be, it would be good idea to track the concept and relations through time and try to establish an origin and narrative of the term.