The trillion cost question, what makes a smart and sustainable city, has as many answers as the number of stakeholders, big and small, corporate or individual, state or civic.

Among the big stakeholders, the initiatives are usually stressing a number of specific urban features, like in:

IBM’s Smarter Cities (ICT, data analytics, cloud computing, intelligent platforms)

Cisco’s Smart + Connected Communities (ICT, networking equipment, internet of things)

GSMA’s Mobile Cities (ICT, mobile networks, smart applications)

Smart City Planning Corporation, Inc. (Planning, Energy, Software)

Siemens’ Sustainable Cities (Energy, Transportation, Water, Waste, Healthcare)

Microsoft’s CityNext (ICT, Software, Cloud, Big Data)   

As another fresh example, we have to mention the so-called Mayors Challenge. Promising a symbolic award of $ 9 mln for (5, 1, 1, 1, 1) for 5 European cities, it set forward as criteria: vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities. Instead, it’s resulting with 21 cities, coming with very individual and fragmentary “innovative solutions to urban challenges” in youth unemployment, ageing, obesity, civic engagement, public health, social capital, economic development, government system, transportation, energy, and environment.

There is some growing understanding in the necessity of a single unified approach, like as Microsoft’ CityNext is promising to deliver “One City”  “across eight critical functions: energy and water; buildings, infrastructure, and planning; transportation; public safety and justice; tourism, recreation, and culture; education; health and social services; and government administration”.

Currently, the only big institution aiming to systematically practice an integrated city philosophy is the EIP on Smart Cities bringing together cities, industry and citizens to improve urban life through more sustainable integrated solutions (see an Invitation for Commitments,

In the freshly published Operational Implementation Plan, “Policy and Regulation” Priority Area, it’s stated: “Cities often focus on stand-alone smart cities projects”

“Cities need to involve a broad range of policy fields and stakeholders and formulate an integrated smart city strategy”

“Integrated Smart City Strategy initiatives require input from a number of actors:

·         City/Local Authorities: The smart city strategy has to be included in funding considerations. Also, cities have to self-commit to include individual smart city projects within the larger overall smart city strategy.

·         Regional Authorities: Regional authorities are responsible for Structural Funds in many countries. The integration of regional authorities could mobilise Structural Funds for smart city implementation actions.

·         Funding Organisations: When granting funds the wider strategy should be considered.

·         Private companies and public utilities: Their views should shape the smart city strategy. Incentives for private companies should be discussed to actively contribute and invest in the implementation of the strategy.

·         Research Organisations: Their views should shape the smart city strategy. Incentives for research organisations should be discussed to actively contribute and invest in the implementation of the strategy.

·         National Ministries: They should actively be aware and support their cities to work on a smart city strategy.

·         Citizens and NGOs: They should be informed about as well as actively included in the process.

Implementing a healthy philosophy of One Smart Sustainable City, we propose a Global Initiative, “to increase the number of cities with a long-term smart city strategy…” among European cities, with participation of Platform Stakeholders, activating “Sustainable Smart Cities” LinkedIn Professional Group under Horizon 2020. 

The Smart Cities Global Initiative is to meet an increasing concern of the large variety of narrow technical visions, models and initiatives, when on many occasions, “the push towards smart cities is being led by the wrong people – technology companies with naïve visions and short term commercial goals; while the architects, planners and scientists… often struggle to share their specific knowledge”.

Again, the legacy cities are marked by separated departments of Health, Social Services, Education, Public Safety, Emergency & Security, Transportation, Utilities, Buildings, Parks, Recreation and Culture, Waste and Environment.

In addition, there may be Forums for Culture, Economy, Knowledge Society, Social Affairs, Mobility, Cooperation and Environment.

On the top, there are fragmented working groups following their specific plans in Air, Soil, Energy and Climate Action; Green Areas and Biodiversity, Clean City; Employment; etc.

The Smart City Global Initiative is to re/integrate all the sustainable city dimensions, Smart Transportation and Sustainable Mobility, Smart and Green Energy, Intelligent ICT, as well as Smart Water, Smart Waste, Smart Governance, Smart People, Smart Safety and Security, Smart Living, Smart Economy and Smart Environment.

We encourage European cities, looking for comprehensive innovative solutions to urban challenges, adjoin the move, with Smart Municipalities Commitment Application as in the guidlines below:


Original author: asha