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Global agendas for future cities

Provides city leaders with an analysis of what leading cities are doing to create smart city strategies

Sao Paulo is one of the cities that is featured in the Future Cities report
Sao Paulo is one of the cities that is featured in the Future Cities report

Future Cities Catapult has published its first global review of smart city strategies.


The report, which examines 21 smart city strategies from around the world including New York, Berlin, Sao Paulo and Manchester, was released at the Smart City Expo World Congress, Barcelona.


Global Review charts the evolution in smart city strategies from technology-driven towards becoming citizen-centred. It highlights the challenges in creating collaborative citizen-led strategies that can cope with a new wave of digital disruption as evidenced by apps such as Uber and Airbnb.


Future Cities Catapult also notes that the global market for smart cities is shifting, with Asia’s smart city market expected to grow from $50bn to $220bn by 2020. By 2050, the UN expects an extra 2.5bn people will live in cities, with 90 per cent of this growth coming from Asia and Africa.


The report argues that understanding how smart cities are being developed from a global perspective is crucial to empowering both cities and industry to deliver the smarter cities that prosperity and sustainability require.


“At Future Cities Catapult we believe that creating positive transformation on the ground requires strategies for dealing with the reality of cities,” Jarmo Eskelinen, chief technology and innovation officer, Future Cities Catapult.


“We created this report to give city leaders a head-start on how they can learn from the experience of those cities that have been developing smart city strategies for years, and those that have only just started.”


Produced with the support of Arup, the review provides city leaders with an analysis of what leading cities are doing to create smart city strategies that are suited to their needs, and how they are structuring themselves to deliver these strategies within difficult, complex environments.


Based on the research, the review makes five key recommendations for city governments:


  • Establish strong leadership to develop skills and capacity within local government to initiate and deliver at-scale smart city projects
  • Embed your smart city strategy within existing statutory frameworks in order to ensure the strategy’s implementation and funding
  • When creating your smart city strategy, consider a collaborative approach, coupled with strong political support, to ensure that you harness your citizens’ and businesses’ capabilities and respond to their needs
  • Tap into core city funding by regularly scanning your existing city assets and budgets in order to leverage these for smart city projects
  • Create a plan for private sector engagement and long-term collaboration, as well as a designated person or team for communicating with businesses and investors.


“City authorities are at the core of digital transformation. Their ability to be the fulcrum between articulating citizen need and engaging technology providers, will be key in determining overall city competitiveness,” added Steve Turner, smart cities lead at Arup.


“This research will help authorities around the world to create strategies that enable them to fulfil this critical role.”


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