Smart cities
Smart cities

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4 Developing a smart city approach

The image is of a young man sitting on a ledge/roof, using a laptop.
Figure 3 Smart city approaches

During this course you will learn how to co-create a smart cities project. Such a project involves experts working with citizens to help them design and produce a solution to a city problem that matters to them. You should already be capturing your ideas in the Smart Cities Project Ideas Template, which will then help you to complete your Smart Cities Project Business Model Canvas later in the course.

As you’ve seen, there’s no agreed definition of what a smart city is, but it’s broadly accepted that a smart city uses smart technologies and data as the means to solve its sustainability challenges.

You’ve also heard that cities often make the mistake of starting with the technology rather than with the problem and why that problem is important to citizens. To develop your project you’ll need to choose a problem you wish to solve. You’ve already started to explore this using your rich picture. Before you choose your problem, however, you’ll learn in Week 3 how to work with citizens to design a smart cities project.

In developing a smart city project or programme it’s important to consider five core elements:

  1. citizens
  2. infrastructure, technology and data
  3. enterprise and innovation
  4. leadership and strategy
  5. measurement and learning.

These elements form the structure of the course, and you’ll hear more about them next. Afterwards you’ll explore some other key issues:

  • the use of open data, which is an enabler of many smart city projects
  • sustainability, for which smart cities can be both an enabler and a threat
  • privacy and ethics, which is an increasing concern for citizens.

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