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Smart cities
Smart cities

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3.2 Opportunities and barriers

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Figure 9 Opportunity in smart cities.

Smart cities can present great opportunities to our cities, not least in the use of technology and data to increase resilience to urban challenges, through greater efficiencies, and using innovation and enterprise.

The cities best placed to capitalise on these opportunities are the ones with strong leadership, effective public–private partnership working and strong citizen engagement.

But there are barriers to cities becoming smart. Perhaps the greatest challenge is that there’s no clear definition of what a smart city is. The concept is quite amorphous, which makes it difficult to measure. And will the name be replaced in the future as city terms often are, as they fall out of fashion? The name may change but digital technologies and data are already ubiquitous in our lives, and the practice of using them to address city and citizen challenges will endure.

These are some of the most pressing issues facing smart city development that you have explored in the course:

  • leadership
  • partnership working
  • citizen engagement
  • data ownership
  • trust and ethics
  • privacy and security
  • integration and interoperability
  • value proposition and business models
  • finance and procurement.

As you have learned, many of these are wider than the smart technology itself. These are the areas where greater focus is needed if our smart cities are to fulfil their visions and become more sustainable.