'Smart city' is a terminology coined by technological companies to describe the utilization of data and technology towards better management and monitoring of urban environments.
This term sees the collection, analysis, and presentation of urban data as a potential to create better knowledge, tools and solutions to make urban management more efficient, keep the citizens better informed and enable a more focused prioritization of efforts.
However, much of such initiatives, currently deployed in cities, are technological based, without real synergy with policy and strategy. These efforts can create access to data that may improve the efficiency of existing strategies, allow for real-time monitoring of actions and enable quicker response to new challenges.
However, while this is beneficial for rich and resourceful cities, other cities, mainly secondary cities and urban areas of the emerging world, find this technological trend less relevant, as it just adds complexity to urban management, widens social gaps and creates a large burden on municipal budgets.
Therefore, although their challenges are not smaller, they are often omitted from such discussions and initiatives.
We believe that if we want to make Smart Cities more equitable and accessible, there is a need to create a new set of smart policies and strategies, improving not only the knowledge but also the capability and governance of cities towards cities that are more sustainable, resilient, inclusive, shared and economical stable.
This calls for a new kind of “smart”- integrating technology, smart strategies & social engagement organized to answer to the needs and potential of cities in the 21st century, with a strong link to the United Nation’s New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals and implementation strategies, calling to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Such goals are difficult to address using existing tools, due to the ever-changing complexities of the 21st-century urbanism, with unique, site-specific stresses and shocks that challenge the potential of growth, safety, quality of life and access to basic services.
This model sees digital and technological solutions as enabling tools to present new capabilities to all leaders and inhabitants of cities, as part of a new level of civic governance, while including digital transformation of services and solutions with a focus on management, infrastructure and economic growth, enabled by innovation, connectivity, and shared systems to ensure that cities meet the environmental, social and economic needs of present and future generations.