Four Types of Smart City Projects

Analysis of 60 municipal smart city plans drawn from around the world has identified four different models:
* an essential services model,
* smart transportation model,
* broad-spectrum model, and
* a business ecosystem model.

The combinations of smart city projects that are most often deployed together, and thus to define “archetypes” or “models” in smart city development.

Here are the highlights of each type of smart city project.

Essential Services Model

Cities within the group Essential Services Model are characterized by their use of mobile networks in their emergency management programs and by their digital healthcare services. These cities, that may already have good communications infrastructures, prefer to put their money into a few well-chosen smart city programs. Examples include Tokyo and Copenhagen.

Smart Transportation Model

Smart Transportation Model cities encompass those that are densely populated and face problems with moving goods and people within the city. Cities in this group emphasize initiatives to control urban congestion — through smart public transportation, car sharing and/or self-driving cars — as well as the use of information and communication technologies. Singapore and Dubai are included in this group.

Broad Spectrum Model

Cities falling within the Broad Spectrum Model emphasize urban services, such as water, sewage and waste management, and seek technological solutions for pollution control. They are also characterized by a high level of civic participation. Examples include Barcelona, Vancouver and Bejing.

Business Ecosystem Model

The Business Ecosystem Model seeks to use the potential of information and communication technologies to jumpstart economic activity. It includes cities that emphasize digital skills training as a necessary accompaniment to create a trained workforce and aim to foster high-tech businesses. Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Cape Town are examples.

“Our findings can provide city planners with information on specific projects and templates implemented in the field by other planners,” said Jayakar. “Cities hoping to implement smart city plans may also consult the four models to identify cities that match their socio-economic circumstances the most closely to use as an aid in devising their own plans.”

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