Enhancing Quality of Life through Smart Cities

Smart Cities is a movement that has taken cities by storm.  At its simplest, smart cities involves the growing role of technology in cities today.  The rise of the internet, ubiquity of smart phones, big data, and connected devices/internet of things have all contributed to city leaders asking themselves what it all can enable.  The possibilities are certainly endless and emerging daily.
One of the areas of caution for technology in general, and smart cities in particular, is thinking about technology for its own sake.  While it is exciting to think of all the possibilities for technology in our cities, approaches must be grounded in and guided by a goal of enhancing quality of life. How can new technology projects contribute to gains in equity, economy, environment, and health?  Furthermore, how do focus areas in cities such as housing, transportation, and workforce connect with these gains?

When a city is getting started or improving their approach, four areas are critical for a meaningful smart city strategy:

  1. Clarity of vision – What problems is the city trying to solve?  What are the major challenges the public faces, and how might technology help?  How would a smart cities effort enhance quality of life in specific ways?
  2. Financial support – How will the initatives be funded, initially and on an ongoing basis? Can innovative models, academic partnerships, or public/private partnerships contribute to the financial base?
  3. Experimentation process – Since experimentation is required in most cases, how will pilot projects and testing be fostered?  How can fiscal responsibility to taxpayers be addressed while experimenting?
  4. Implementation methodology – Who will actually deploy projects, how will they be maintained, and how will they be monitored and evaluated in the future?  How will the early phases seed the next generation of innovation in subsequent phases?

ComplexCities is in the process of establishing a professional network and pinpointing resources to share for this project.  If you are interested, please contact us.