February 25, 2020

Trends in Smart City Development Report

National League of Cities

This report examines the meanings and practices associated with the term smart cities. To better understand smart cities in practice, it outlines smart city initiatives in five cities. For each city, it focuses on the organization of the initiatives, the policy and administrative components guiding the initiatives, and community engagement around smart development.

According to the authors, smart city initiatives involve three components: information and communication technologies (ICTs) that generate and aggregate data; analytical tools which convert that data into usable information; and organizational structures that encourage collaboration, innovation, and the application of that information to solve public problems.

Cities are focused on making their residents’ lives easier and are beginning to think about how technology can be integrated into municipal operations in order to create feedback loops that improve operations and enhance the experience of community members. In order to realize these case studies and allow an easy comparison between the five cities, the chosen lenses were policy, administration and community engagement.

While the report shows that successfully implementing smart city systems means tailoring the answer to the need of the community, it provides three recommendations that should be at the core of every plan:

  • Cities should consider the outcomes they want to achieve. The most successful smart city initiatives will be those with clear objectives that solve public problems unique to each city.
  • Cities should look for ways to partner with universities, non-profits, and the private sector. Partnerships provide many benefits to cities including access to funding and outside expertise.
  • Cities should continue to look for best practices and frameworks for smart city development. Technology standards and frameworks for smart city development are in development and should be considered by city leaders.

Case Studies: Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Charlotte, NC; San Francisco, CA; New Delhi, India.

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