Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities


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Past experiences worldwide have shown that interventions of local governments can certainly act as a launching pad for smart cities success. Here are a few key takeaways:. The stakeholders must be encouraged to provide feedback on pilot programs and to suggest what initiatives they would like to see in their city. Social inclusiveness is an equally important aspect besides raising awareness.

The creation of a smart and sustainable city would largely come from the meaningful engagement of citizens of all genders, age, and income groups.

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Detailed mapping of existing physical infrastructure including roads, utilities, electricity, public health services, and social infrastructure in the selected 17 cities should be the foundation for the subsequent efforts. Integration of urban services into the daily operation of a city determines to a large extent how smart the city is. Such integration efforts to establish city-wide connectivity of local ministerial branches, and effectively manage the multiple stakeholders involved in the smart city transformation, must be led by the municipalities. Sustainable financing is one of the challenges witnessed globally in the course of implementation of such projects.

Again, local government has an important role to play in lobbying for grants, sourcing seed money for smart projects, and identifying opportunities for public-private partnerships wherever possible in a bid to develop long-term financing modes. Smart urban planning implies that municipalities must opt for smart, innovative and efficient ways to carry out planning functions including land use planning, infrastructure development, zoning, creation of public spaces, housing and expansion of services, maintaining heritage sites, improving the environment, and encouraging public participation at the local level.

A smart city is an ambitious goal to achieve. For cities to succeed to enter the digital age requires the effective participation of local authorities to localise the national agenda by carrying out smart interventions at the neighbourhood level.


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The development of urban planning and management practices is highly imperative and requires that local authorities be equipped with adequate local autonomy, clearly defined roles and functions along with the financial and technical capacities to perform in a smart manner. Like many other countries struggling with implementing a smart cities agenda, local institutions in Saudi Arabia have been constrained by the above prerequisites.

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As identified through research by the Center for Local Governance a think tank based in Saudi Arabia , most Saudi municipal councils lack both the necessary budget and control to perform their function. In stark contrast with countries such as Australia and Canada, where municipal councils largely rely upon their own revenue, Saudi municipal councils receive their budget from the Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Affairs MOMRA and administrative employees from Amanahs regional municipalities.

Regional councils also suffer from inadequate budgets to conduct their own research or control the regional budget to determine development priorities. This indicates the need of reforms across the local institutions. Local bodies need to be empowered with more administrative and financial autonomy so they can successfully plan and implement smart cities programs. In addition, the clear distribution of tasks and minimisation of inter-jurisdictional conflicts among the implementing agencies will be the first challenge.

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The article was originally published on the website of the Center for Local Governance. Define a clear action plan responding to local challenges. Define the action plan through a holistic and cross-cutting approach. Align the strategy with existing frameworks and funding schemes. Ensure an efficient governance model, integrating all key stakeholders. Build alliances: industry partnerships and ecosystem. Cities will also face a growing concentration of economic activities. This is a big challenge but also a great opportunity to rethink the system and the type of cities we want to build in the future.

Undoubtedly, technology plays a key role in it. Indeed, technology plays a key role to rethink the way our cities are organized: it helps to gather information, to deploy efficient solutions and policies and to enable new communication channels relying upon big data, mobile technology, applications, cloud services, sensors, hyperconnectivity, 3D printing, etc.

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Technology is simply a facilitator. The purpose of data analysis is not to generate big amount of data. The ultimate goal — in fact, the only one that matters - is to help better decision and policy-making at the city level. Technology is at the core of the current smart city revolution, but most importantly, it represents a tool to govern and organize our cities in a smarter way - particularly because it enables to engage and empower citizens, and make them participate in the policy-making process. All this results in more open, transparent and participatory urban systems. It must address the central question that is: what do we want to become, as a city, in 20 or 30 years from now?

But then, the big question is how will cities be able to guarantee a balance between growth and sustainability in the long run? But it is also very important to define local and specific short-term objectives and actions that will contribute to improve urban strategic planning, and, in the end, to achieve the longer-term vision. After identifying big challenges and opportunities for growth, job creation, activity development and welfare, cities have to design a clear action plan, with priorities and locally-customized solutions.

Our smart city strategy proposed a holistic approach and vision of the city. This holistic approach has been declined into 22 programs each one of them including different initiatives, projects and strategies , engaging all types of stakeholders: the public sector, the private sector and, of course, citizens. In our opinion, the sum of these 22 programs should be the basis of any digital city in the future. All major institutions agree on the fact that ICTs can help to overcome the challenges that current urbanization processes raise for cities.


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Therefore, many strategic policy frameworks, plans and even funding schemes have been implemented by different institutions e. Thanks to these mechanisms, they can indeed have access to funding and many useful tools — particularly to measure and report their performance economic and social returns on investment , which is very valuable, both in terms of continuous improvement of practices and communication. Citizens play a key role in the development of smart cities. In Barcelona, we developed specific programs to encourage the adoption of citizen-driven innovation policies e.

It means engaging citizens in the definition of programs and making them participate in the execution and in the evaluation afterwards. Cities in particular compete for the attraction of capital flows, investments, talents, etc. Nevertheless, they all face similar challenges. Therefore, public-public and public-private collaboration should be strengthened. Beyond playing a key role in encouraging companies to launch new products and services, these innovation labs also represent a way to engage citizens in the innovation process. Smart cities are mainly about lively spaces in constant evolution where anyone should be able to propose innovations to improve the organization of cities.

Field Actions Science Reports The journal of field actions. Contents - Previous document. Perspectives: Key factors of success to scale-up Smart Cities.

Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities

Outline Introduction. The information revolution: an unprecedented opportunity for digital cities. Decline the action plan through a holistic and cross-cutting approach.

Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities
Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities
Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities
Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities
Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities
Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities
Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities
Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities Transforming City Governments for Successful Smart Cities

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