Empowering cities: The real story of how citizens and businesses are driving smart cities is a research program developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), on behalf of Philips Lighting, to assess the progress of cities toward adopting smart technologies.
Digital technologies are the lifeblood of today’ s cities. They are applied widely in industry and society, from information and communications technology (ICT) to the Internet of Things (IoT), in which objects are connected to the Internet. As sensors turn any object into part of an intelligent urban network, and as computing power facilitates analysis of the data these sensors collect, elected officials and city administrators can gain an unparalleled understanding of the infrastructure and services of their city. However, to make the most of this intelligence, another ingredient is essential: citizen engagement. Thanks to digital technologies, citizens can provide a steady flow of feedback and ideas to city officials.
The study investigates how citizens and businesses in 12 diverse cities around the world’”Barcelona, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Singapore and Toronto’”envision the benefits of smart cities.
The choices of the respondents to the survey reflect the diverse nature of the challenges and opportunities facing different cities, from older cities in mature markets, where technology is at work with infrastructure that may be centuries old, to new cities in emerging markets, which have the opportunity to incorporate digital technologies as they grow.
Coupled with expert perspectives, these insights paint a fresh picture of how digital technologies can empower people to contribute’”giving city officials a roadmap to smart city life in the 21st century. The key findings include the following:
- Smart cities have active citizens, but there is room for further engagement
- Digital technologies are already improving city services
- Citizens want more ways to interact with their cities
- Using new tools effectively requires more action
- Business is a willing partner for smart city initiatives