Why A City Isn’t a Smart City

The concept of Smart Cities sounds futuristic.  

Smart Cities fuse geographic sensor data with non-spatial information, such as financial or statistical data, transforming everyday operations into a wealth of valuable insights so leaders can understand how the city is evolving and what changes must occur as it does. 

But, the reality is that Smart Cities aren’t just for the future. The need for this level of understanding is pertinent in urban areas worldwide right now. So, what is hindering some of the world’s most concentrated areas from becoming Smart Cities? 

Three Reasons a City Isn’t a Smart City

  1. Cities are growing faster than solutions can be implemented
  2. City governments lack reliable and standardized data
  3. Data stays in one department

As city populations rise, so does the need to provide reliable resources to residents. From timely fixes to utility outages to updating aging infrastructure and increased public safety measures, solutions utilizing the most recent data available need to be part of city operations. 

Recent, reliable, and standardized data can be compared to historical data to establish trends and provide governments with the information they need to make quick, confident decisions. Information without valid points of reference loses its value not only to city governments, but ultimately to the residents depending on reliable resources for their well-being. 

Compartmentalization and disconnected leadership means universally applicable information doesn’t fulfill its potential. When city data collected by a widely utilized and influential department isn’t easily and readily shared with other departments that could use it, valuable insights are missed. The likelihood of redundant efforts also increases, wasting time and resources. 

On a larger scale, cities must also share results with one another. Public data leading to innovative solutions for one city could be applicable globally, but there has to be a simple method for viewing and sharing it. A lack of communication across municipal governments could keep valuable information that could be the missing piece of another city’s puzzle from being connected. 

How Can City Representatives Overcome These Obstacles?

Geospatial technologies and services are the foundation of any Smart City. Combining multi-source geospatial and non-spatial data for a holistic view of city operations leads to answers that are more quickly applicable, and utilizing geospatial services to organize that data in a way that is easy to digest, compare, and share is invaluable.  

Employing these services is a necessity not only to the cities that use them, but also to other city leaders who will see the success of Smart Cities and aspire to reach the same status, ultimately leading to an even smarter world and more content citizens throughout it.