Smart City Strategies

Future Cities Catapult has released their first global review of smart city strategies at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. The report looks at 21 smart city strategies from around the world including New York, Berlin, Sao Paulo and Manchester.|

The publication will give city leaders insights into how they can begin their smart city journey. This Global Review charts the evolution in smart city strategies from technology-driven towards 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.

The review makes the following five recommendations for city governments:

  1. Establish strong leadership to develop skills and capacity within local government to initiate and deliver at-scale smart city projects.
  2. Embed your smart city strategy within existing statutory frameworks in order to ensure the strategy’s implementation and funding.
  3. 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.
  4. Tap into core city funding by regularly scanning your existing city assets and budgets in order to leverage these for smart city projects.
  5. 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.

Picture: Geneva, Rogier van den Berg

Award of Excellence in Urbanism

Client: Foundation Urbanism NOW / Creative Industries Fund Year: 2009-ongoing.
Project: Biannual Award and communication platform for excellence in urban planning.
Rogier van den Berg, director of SmartCityStudio, founded the Biannual Award in 2009. In order to disperse intelligence on urban planning concepts among professionals and the government. Collaborating with Dutch Universities in urban planning to identify the best plans of young professionals the Biannual Award becomes an investigation on new trends and assignments for the future. The young professionals pitch their project in four-minute videos that can be viewed at Their projects are being evaluated by one hundred of the most influential professionals in urban planning which rate the projects with a score and an written argumentation. The winners are announced in a public debate on the future of our cities and receive assignments of public parties to work on in the following year.
Picture: Jan-Martijn Eekhof, winner 2012 and Henk Ovink, Deputy Director General Spatial Planning of the Netherlands.

Air Quality Information

According to Smartplanet: “For Parisians wondering if it’s a good day for a jog or a bike across the city, soon they’ll only need look up to learn how clean the air is. Baptized the Observatoire Atmosphérique Generali, a new, one-of-a-kind hot air balloon at the Parc André Citroën will take flight this spring thanks to a new partnership with the European insurance group Generali and the balloon’s designer Aerophile. The balloon will visibly inform about 400,000 Parisians daily about the air quality near traffic and away from roads. Moreover, the balloon will carry new instruments to study air samples above Paris. The balloon is part of Generali’s commitment to addressing preventable health costs related to poor air quality in France. A recent European study of nine French cities revealed that none respect the World Health Organization’s guidelines for appropriate amounts of ozone and fine particulate matter in the air. The study suggests that nearly 3,000 yearly deaths, 1,000 hospitalizations, and lowered life expectancy could all be avoided if France cleaned up the air. The Observatoire Atmosphérique Generali will play a role in monitoring such conditions in Paris. And the insurance moguls at Generali know who is paying for much of the nearly 5 billion euros that the study says could be saved if France cleaned up its act. In tandem with City Hall, the observatory will hold classes every morning for Parisian children, offering up to 30 people at time the chance to get a bird’s eye view of the capital while learning about air quality. The partnership between Generali, Aerophile, and the city will last five years starting this spring.” Picture: Aerophile

Smart Cities

Last week the exhibition ‘Smart Cities’ at the Architecture Biënnale in Rotterdam closed. This exhibition curated by five Dutch Academies for Archtitecture in the Netherlands formulated Smart Cities as follows:

In a truly intelligent city technology is a simply a tool, one of several that can be used to create a successful city. Really Smart Cities emphasise:

Smart economy: reinforcing economic connections within the city and with the region; Smart connections: are intelligent about mobility and ICT;                                                  Smart environments: making optimal use of natural resources and respecting the climate;                                                                                                                                Smart people: making the most of human capital;                                                              Smart living: improving liveability and quality of life;                                                            Smart coalitions: encouraging smart coalitions between citizens, government and institutions.

Are these elements interacted successfully and do they interact with current economic social and spatial conditions? This interaction is essential in creating a smart city. What new opportunities open up for cities if architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture are able to integrate other disciplines. Smart Cities generate more jobs and are cleaner, more flexible, more efficient and safer. Smart Cities are the key to a sustainable world in a spatial, social and economic sense.