Smart Cities

National League of Cities: 3 recommendations for smart city development

Many cities are focused on adding smart technology as the urban landscape continues to shift with smart, connected cities becoming the goal of the future.

A new report from the National League of Cities (NLC) offers three recommendations for municipalities that want to become a smart city. The report also includes case studies of five cities of varying sizes and development stages of installing smart city tech.

The diverse cities chosen for the case studies were Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Charlotte, N.C., and New Delhi, India.

SEE: Smart cities: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)

Each of the five cities were used to determine the top three recommendations for anyone considering a smart city project:

Recommendation 1: Cities should consider the outcomes they want to achieve

Just collecting data isn't enough. The information needs to be relevant and the resulting analysis drive real applications for public problems.

"Cities should consider what public problems they want the initiative to address and how the data collected will help address those public problems. Additionally, assessment of public problems and data collection should be derived from and tied to existing city comprehensive plans, visions, and sector planning documents," according to the Trends in Smart City Development report.

Recommendation 2: Cities should partner with universities, non-profits, and the private sector

Cities can partner with a wide range of organizations when seeking to develop smart city initiatives. The benefits of partnerships include opening cities up to funding and expertise that they might not otherwise receive. Universities are an excellent option for partnerships, as well as non-profits and private companies. Some cities are even partnering with other cities.

"Many public problems are complex and can be too diverse for any single organization to tackle. That makes collaboration advantageous. Organizations are often able to do more together than they could alone," according to the report.

Recommendation 3: Cities should look for best practices and frameworks for smart city development

The vast array of technologies being deployed and the relative newness of the technologies mean that "not much has been codified," according to the report. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working on a framework for smart city development to address the interoperability and portability of the development of information and communication technologies.

"Cities interested in becoming smart should continue to look for best practices and frameworks for this type of development," according to the report.

How city leaders can use the report

Nicole Dupuis, NLC principal associate of Urban Innovation, said, "Even though the smart cities movement has been afoot for a while now and a lot of major metropolitan areas are doing some pretty large scale efforts, there are still some cities and municipal leaders who are very much starting to dip their toes in this space. We wanted to be aware of that and open up the conversation to communities where it's a little less accessible."

"Largely it's been driven by this point by the private sector, by organizations that are selling something. We saw this as a way to engage the public sector in a more meaningful way," Dupuis said. "We wanted to write this report with the assumption that maybe somebody who is a local leader and has done nothing in this space could pick up the report and come away with a better understanding what to do next. where to start."

Recognizing the importance and interest in the smart city movement, the NCL introduced a session on smart cities for the first time during its conference in November 2016. There are plans to include similar programming at the next annual meeting Nov. 15-18, 2017 in Charlotte, N.C., said Brooks Rainwater, NLC director of the Center for City Solutions.

"Some of the areas we've explored more and more is our city of the future initiative. Within that is focusing on the future of work as well as mobility and technology," Rainwater said.

Top three takeaways for TechRepublic readers:

  1. The National League of Cities has released a report on smart city recommendations for anyone seeking to add connectivity to their city.
  2. Cities should look for best practices and frameworks for smart city development.
  3. Cities need to consider the outcome they want to achieve before they start down the smart city path.

Also see:

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Image: iStock/zhudifeng

About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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