Why It’s Time for Every City to Get Smart

The National League of Cities (NLC) just released “Trends in Smart City Development“, a collection of case studies about how five cities – Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Charlotte, and New Delhi, India – are implementing smart city projects.

Case studies focused on three main factors in smart city planning: 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. The city initiatives highlighted are:

  • Chicago, IL – partnering with universities and the private sector on sensor projects like the Array of Things, which aims to collect and disseminate real-time data;
  • Philadelphia, PA – establishment of the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) of Philadelphia, allowing city leaders to have a more hands-on approach to ICT initiatives;
  • Charlotte, NC – the formation of Envision Charlotte, a public-private collaboration (PPC) to help the city sustain its accelerating population growth.
  • San Francisco, CA – San Francisco’s OpenData initiative, launched in 2009, supports smart cities initiatives that aim to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals and improve and increase public transportation service.
  • New Delhi, India – currently in the initial planning stages of its smart cities initiative, the city has tied into the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The National League of Cities has recommended that cities should consider the outcomes they want to achieve, should look for ways to partner with universities, non-profits, and the private sector, and should continue to look for best practices and frameworks for ‘smart city’ development.