A combination of economic growth, societal needs and human aspiration is establishing a smart cities culture, creating smart city projects and programs in many countries.
Here are 10 suggested attributes that may well describe a smart city.
1. Information, communication and technology enabled public services. The use of integrated technology platforms that are easily accessible across distinct devices plays a pivotal role to provide access, transparency, speed and participation in public services.
2. Efficient public services. The use of smart meters, renewable energy, energy conservation, water harvesting, effluent recycling and appropriated solid waste disposal methods are all clearly the hallmark of a smart city.
3. The use of public-private partnerships. This is a key attribute of the smart city concept. They are used as a source of much-needed capital but also for the efficient delivery of utilities with agreed service-level standards.
4. Safety and security. This aspect is high in public consciousness. Clearly, networks of video-cameras, brightly lit public areas, intensive patrolling and surveillance, identity-verified access, and rapid response to emergency calls are all on the expectations list.
5. Financial sustainability. Financial independence will be only possible with elaborate and extensive tapping of all sources of revenue such as property taxes and ads payments, among others.
6. Citizen-participative local government. Participation of citizens in local issues should be carefully designed. For example, the current apathy towards civic elections needs comprehensive reversal.
7. Sufficient social capital. Smart cities cannot be devoid of the appropriate levels of social infrastructure like schools, hospitals, public spaces, sporting and recreational grounds and retail and entertainment venues.
8. Transit planning. Even though walk-to-work is the dream solution, bicycle paths and conveniently networked public transportation reduces motivation to use personal vehicles.
9. Green environments. Minimizing the carbon footprint and eco-friendliness are essential. Parks and verdant open space, use of renewable energy, conservation and recycling are mandatory.
10. A minimum population criteria. Estimation of the population size is important for planning services such as energy needs and traffic among others.