Smart City Development Framework
The proposed framework is divided in five components:
1. Smart government road map. The starting point is a forward looking diagnosis that not only includes understanding the existing infrastructure, but also setting a path towards a smart city model for the next five to ten years. Based on this forward looking exercise, an action plan and investments road map are proposed, tailored to the specific context of each city.
2. Identification of city priorities. In parallel, interactive sessions with main stakeholders are organized. Civil Society organizations, local universities, software developer communities, public officials, and sector specialists are gathered to discuss their main needs and priorities, focusing on those that could be solved through technology. Practices from other countries and cities are shared, and problem statements are further defined.
3. Co-creating solutions. Based on the problem statements identified before, cities have several alternatives. They could, for example, develop specific applications directly. They could also participate in events such as hackathons and app challenges to crowdsource solutions, spurring innovation and entrepreneurship. Partnerships with academia and private sector may also result in multidisciplinary teams co-creating solutions with innovative approaches. The idea of these activities is to create prototypes and concepts that are then tested in the field (in this case, in the city) and start a virtuous cycle of feedback from citizens and adaptation/responses from government, all aimed at creating a new or improved service.
4. Urban Innovation Lab. To keep the traction and momentum generated by this co-creation process, a space that facilitates the ongoing interaction between all stakeholders mentioned above is needed; a space where new ideas and solutions can be tested in a fail-safe environment. This Urban Innovation Lab should lead future iterations of the proposed process and support stakeholders in coming up with problems and solutions aimed at improving the quality of life in their city.
5. Networked cities. Finally, cities going through this process could create a network to share applications and practices. This way, they can maximize the value of the solutions they develop by sharing them with their peers, as well as learn from other experiences and build on top of them. Such networks could also link to already existing networks in Europe (for example, the European Network of Living Labs or the Open Cities initiative) and the US.