What is Smart City ?
A city which 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 is known as Smart City. Sectors that have been developing smart city technology include government services,transport and traffic management, energy,health care,water and waste. Smart city are developed with the goal of improving the management of urban flows and allowing for real time responses to challenges.
The smart city model
A Smart City is a city well performing in 6 characteristics, built on the ‘smart’ combination of endowments and activities of self-decisive, independent and aware citizens.
Economic image & trademarks Productivity
Flexibility of labour market
Ability to transform
Availability of ICT-infrastructure
Sustainable, innovative and safe transport systems
Attractiveness of natural conditions
Sustainable resource management
Level of qualification
Affinity to life long learning
Social and ethnic plurality
Participation in public life
Participation in decision-making
Public and social services
Political strategies & perspectives
Although there are many differing views as to what a Smart City really is, cities are facing common challenges.
The chapters in the publication Smart City dynamics are based on those main challenges in the transition to Smart Cities.
There are many more, but let’s begin with the topics that cities and their partners (have to) start with.
The relevance of road maps
Creating a road map for Smart Cities is a complicated matter. The necessary steps depend on cities’ objectives and on existing local resources. Road maps first require a detailed analysis of the city: its resources, infrastructure and pattern of energy demand. Starting from your own strengths is key.
The right stakeholders
The dynamics of stakeholder interaction is central to successful Smart City actions. Who uses the infrastructure and how do the different users interact? Sometimes hundreds of different parties are involved in just one project. They can be anyone who is interested in energy evolution, including the end user. How do you align so many different priorities?
Working with different partners does not have to be complicated, as long as there is an open dialogue and a clear vision. Sharing a vision is crucial. Molly Webb from the Climate Group says: ‘When Smart Cities have a level of ambition that goes beyond a political or private sector vision, issues can be overcome.’
Synergy between sectors
Talking about Smart Cities is often about executing sustainable activities in a more integrated way.
With more partners involved and more projects connected. In recent years there has been a clear move from individual demonstration projects to holistic planning.
Although the intention to cooperate is there, other interests are given priority in practice. How can we get a grip on the complexity of synergy between various sectors?
The role of Information And Communication Technologies (ICT)
Many people think that the emphasis with Smart Cities is too much on technology and not on what really matters: a better living environment. ‘It is a shame that the term Smart Cities has led people to believe that to be smart, you need to do X, Y and Z’, says Jonathan Leucci from the Scottish European Green Energy Centre. ‘The risk is that cities pursue the wrong concepts and think that there needs to be huge amounts of money. They don’t realise that there are quick-win solutions that suit the city.
Janette Webb from the University of Edinburgh: ‘Less consumer spending is seen as bad news for the economy, in contradiction to ambitious waste reduction and energy savings targets. Those mixed messages create a difficult tension that won’t be overcome unless local, regional and national governments take the lead.’
According to Bas Boorsma from Cisco behavioural change takes place at several levels. Everybody must change tack; governments, the business sector and citizens. It is especially complicated where citizens are concerned, he believes.
At the same time, in The Hague residents have used their own money to restore an existing, inactive windmill and put it back into operation. This is an excellent example of neighbourhood participation, whereby residents are fully responsible for a sustainable initiative.