Trends in Smart City Development
“Trends in Smart City Development” is a new report from the National League of Cities featuring case studies about how five cities – Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and New Delhi, India – are using different approaches to implement smart city projects. The report also provides recommendations to help local governments consider and plan smart city projects.
This report examines the meanings and practices associated with the term ‘smart cities.’ 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.
For each city, the report focuses on the organization of the initiatives, the policy and administrative components guiding the initiatives, and community engagement around smart development. The findings are summarized here:
- Chicago, IL: In 2012, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed the city’s open data policy. It created an open data platform and mandated cross-functional collaboration, all managed by the Department of Innovation and Technology. That policy and the administrative structure it created positioned the city to partner with universities and the private sector on sensor projects like the Array of Things, which aims to collect and disseminate real-time data, thereby catalyzing innovation in the city.
- Philadelphia, PA: In 2011, Mayor Michael Nutter issued an executive order establishing the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) of Philadelphia. The creation of this office allowed for city leaders to have a more hands-on approach to ICT initiatives in the city. City oversight as well as partnerships with private and public entities has moved Philadelphia toward many smart city concepts.
- Charlotte, NC: In 2011, Envision Charlotte was established as a public-private collaboration (PPC) to help the city sustain its accelerating population growth. As a new organization, Envision Charlotte is currently working on ways to reduce energy use in commercial buildings through behavioral changes.
- San Francisco, CA: San Francisco has a history of strong leadership interest in making the city smart and sustainable through environmental and transportation improvement measures. Furthermore, 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: New Delhi is in the initial planning stages of its smart cities initiative, which is part of the broader overarching goal of India’s smart cities program that ties into the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The city is following the lead of the nation’s existing environmental policy and land pooling policies
The report provides general recommendations aimed to help guide other cities considering similar projects:
- Recommendation 1: Cities should consider the outcomes they want to achieve.
- Recommendation 2: Cities should look for ways to partner with universities, non-profits, and the private sector.
- Recommendation 3: Cities should continue to look for best practices and frameworks for ‘smart city’ development.