What Makes a City Smart?

Does a smart city have to pursue sustainability goals? Does it have to utilize the internet to involve citizens? Boyd Cohen tries to put some parameters around the discussion of smart cities - a nebulous term that means many things to many people.

As past articles on the subject demonstrate, the definition of a "smart city" can be stretched to include nearly any city doing some form of planning. As he endeavors to compile his annual rankings of smart cities, Cohen attempts to bring some order to the discussion by creating a vehicle to build "consensus around what a smart city is and what the components of a smart city actually are." To achieve this goal, Cohen introduces, "a new rubric for smart cities, that [he calls] the Smart Cities Wheel," which is oriented around six main "smart" categories.

"Most cities can agree that there is real value in having a smart economy, smart environmental practices, smart governance, smart living, smart mobility, and smart people," says Cohen. "Within each of these aspirational goals, I have included three key drivers to achieving the goal. There are over 100 indicators to help cities track their performance with specific actions developed for specific needs." 

Cohen goes on to explain a typical three-step process for how a city might, "use the Smart Cities Wheel to develop and implement a smart cities strategy." 

Full Story: What Exactly Is A Smart City?

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