Concept Paper

Smart Cities, some thoughts for discussion

With growing number of leaders focused on smart-cities, I’m hearing more often a demand for defensible answers to tough questions. Here’s just one of them: “How exactly does my city make the transition to a smart-city?”
As the U.N. system readies for convening Habitat 3, we must hope that the organizers (who sit inside national governments and their international agencies) listen carefully to the full range of actors: ordinary people; NGOs, cities, companies, academia, philanthropy.
My own opinion is this: There’s no better time than right now for us to be debating the best transition strategies that get us from where we are today to the future for smart-cities.
This online platform — the World Smart City Forum — is designed to facilitate discussions which are (hopefully) rich, nuanced and layered. This make sense in light of the fact that smart-cities are, almost by definition, complex and multi-dimensional.
There’s some good news to report — the the World Smart City Forum’s desired outcomes are modest: new insights that can be infused into the program which will convene on July 13 in Singapore; and probably some productive new relationships amongst and between us.
The three global organizations who’ve launched this — IEC with the help of ISO and ITU — have chosen four ‘pain points’:
  • Transportation/Mobility for smart cities
  • Water for smart cities
  • Energy for smart cities
  • Cybersecurity and privacy for smart cities
Taking on even one of these four would be daunting. But the opportunities here are just too compelling! This is certainly one reason that I accepted the invitation to serve as your humble moderator for both the 6 months on-line Forum and the Forum convening on July 13.
My own guest blog post, with thoughts about this new Forum, was published today by Meeting of the Minds. It can be found here:
Your comments on this Forum would be most welcome!
What do you think?
—Gordon Feller
PS: A special note of thanks to our select group of Community Ambassadors, since we’ll be asking them (as of this launch this week) to move our conversation into the directions that yield big returns.