What are smart cities?

Urban areas are responsible for a staggering 70% of global energy consumption and energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Only smart cities can reduce this impact.

Smart cities rely on integrated and interconnected strategies and systems to effectively provide better services and increase quality of life, ensuring equal opportunities to all and protecting the environment.

A smart city continuously strives to improve social, economic and environmental sustainability outcomes. It responds to challenges like climate change, rapid population growth and political and economic instability by engaging with society, applying collaborative leadership methods, working across disciplines and city systems, and using data information and modern technologies.


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Creating tomorrow's urban landscape
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Creating tomorrow's urban landscape

Science fiction loves scaring people with gloomy visions of a dystopian future. Filmmakers this past year seemed especially fond of depicting future catastrophes.

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Sustainable communities: Meet the standards!
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Standards for sustainable communities

Did you know there will soon be a standard for sustainable development in communities? The ISO member for France, AFNOR, tells us more.

How can standards help?

"Standards are the first step towards the holy grail of an interoperable, plug-and-play world where cities can mix and match solutions from different vendors without fear of lock-in or obsolescence or dead-end initiatives."

- Jesse Berst (Chairman, Smart Cities Council)

International standards are sources of best practice developed with experts from around the world. They can be used to monitor technical and functional performance. They ensure that technologies used in cities are safe, efficient and integrated.

With standards, it's easier to optimally manage resources to reduce environmental impact and improve service delivery to citizens. Standards provide a common language so the world can understand each other and exchange knowledge.

By enabling systems to work together, standards stimulate innovation, making it easier for cities to procure reliable and cost-effective systems to meet their needs.


Identifying gaps

Cities need a way to assess where they are, aim for where they need to be and measure their progress along the way. Standards fill that need.

Although technology is an important aspect, "smart" solutions also need to be sustainable and integrated into good governance, security, financial efficiency, effective management of energy and resources, environmental preservation and climate change mitigation and resilience.

That's where city indicators come in. They help cities assess where they stand and prioritize solutions. Standardized indicators mean that cities everywhere use the same measures, making it easier to collaborate and learn from one another.


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Happy cities for happy people
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Happy cities for happy people

A future of smart cities promises to make our life easier and more pleasant. Here, as the Convenor of the ISO working group on city indicators, Dr. Patricia McCarney shares her thoughts about the needs of our cities, and why a citizen-centric approach is a smart choice.

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From Australia to Nigeria – The road to building smart cities
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From Australia to Nigeria – The road to building smart cities

Melbourne, Minna and Johannesburg, three cities that couldn't be more different, tell us about their experience using ISO 37120 city indicators to help them on the road to "smartness".

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The first international standard for city data
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The first international standard for city data

ISO 37120 is the first international standard on city indicators. Here, the World Council on City Data, which is working to promote the use of ISO 37120 tells us more about this standard.

Measuring performance

When measuring performance, it is crucial to take 3 different perspectives into account: residents, city managers and the environment.

Smart cities make sense: they waste less, offer better quality of life and ensure a brighter future for the next generation. But as more and more communities strive to optimize services and become more sustainable, how can they tell if their actions are making a difference?


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How to measure the performance of smart cities
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How to measure the performance of smart cities

These 14 categories of basic community needs can be used to measure the performance of smart community infrastructures. They take into account the needs of residents, city managers and the environment!

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What are smart community infrastructures?
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What are smart community infrastructures?

The problem is clear: community services like energy, waste management and transportation require large infrastructure systems which, though necessary for economic and social development, can have a heavy cost on the environment.

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Measuring smart city performance
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Measuring smart city performance

What is a smart city infrastructure? How do you measure performance? Why use ISO/TS 37151?

Happy places

"I was keen to take a city-needs-led approach. One must think first from the ultimate consumer's point of view."

- Graham Colclough, Chair of ISO's Smart City Strategic Advisory Group

Cities are growing fast. Making sure this growth doesn't turn cities into dystopian nightmares from futuristic novels, but places of opportunity where people enjoy living, requires immediate action.

"Standards improve the ability of cities to better manage and innovate for the future," says Patricia McCarney, Convener of the ISO working group on city indicators. They can help us find and apply solutions for a number of issues.

There are standards for bikes, buildings, energy efficiency, environmental impact, water footprint, electric vehicles and more. But behind all these technical documents are simple goals: happy citizens and efficient and sustainable cities.


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Cities: here is how to be ready for people living longer.
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Cities: here is how to be ready for people living longer.

People are living longer than ever before. If you are 28 or older, you are part of 1.5 billion people who will be over 65 in 2050. But how ready is your city for an ageing population?

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Smart cities get on their bikes
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Smart cities get on their bikes

Traffic congestion represents a major economic problem because of the many working hours lost each day from sitting in traffic jams and soaring petrol costs.

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Green buildings - Laying tomorrow's foundations today
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Green buildings - Laying tomorrow's foundations today

How can the building industry meet demands for functionality, comfort and design together with environmental sustainability and energy efficiency?

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Measuring smart city performance
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A smart nation built on standards

A connected city for more efficient services and happy people - from Singapore.

Your city

Being smart, connected and sustainable gives cities a tremendous competitive advantage when attracting talent, not to mention greatly improving the lives of their citizens.

Share your stories. What initiatives is your city already working on? What is important to you as a citizen? Less polluting mobility? Accessibility? Recycling? Disaster preparedness? Intelligent buildings? Green energy?

Tell us what is important to you in a smart city by tweeting it with #mysmartcity, preferably with a photo of your city

See what people are saying and join the conversation.

#mysmartcity