The idea of the “Smart City” is a fashionable one. However, there is no common definition of what a “Smart City” should look like. Diverse initiatives have been realised under the moniker of “Smart solutions”, from the creation of green spaces to self-driving vehicles. The great variety and creativity of these initiatives demonstrates the enormous potential of smarter cities to save resources, share information seamlessly on a fair basis and facilitate communication between machines and humans to create new, more efficient ways of operating in the city. Technology is central to this, with one article making the case that “the concept of ‘smart city’ might become an icon of a new digitally facilitated form of living in urban space.” Smart is the notion of leveraging technology to understand and respond to the situation of the city on a granular level and in real time.
What many “smart” initiatives lack so far is an integrated approach. If the vision of a smart city encompasses every element of city life – from traffic control to lighting, from green spaces to medical care – and address these areas by leveraging technological solutions, the opportunities for increased efficiency are multiplied. In many ways, the smart city is a canvas on which to build and innovate, a process that demands collaboration between industry and government, as well as special insight and guidance from experts in the field.
This deep dive article reviews the key components of a smart city and the policy considerations that must be addressed to achieve the smart city vision.