How to become a Smart City


Local governments will have to take a leadership role in developing smart cities in order to keep pace with the technological developments that their citizens are embracing and the expectations they have in relation to the economic, social and lifestyle aspects of their city. Increasingly less leadership can be expected from the higher levels of government, yet at the same time it is the local councils (municipalities) that are suffering from the burden of issues such as economic transformation, the need for job growth, sustainability and liveability, city infrastructure and the lifestyle of their citizens.

Internationally we are seeing an increase in the economic and political power of cities. New technological developments in infrastructure, digital services and consumer devices are empowering people, cities, regions and communities. However, their increased importance is not always matched with financial power. A key element of the digital economy is that it is removing cost associated with traditional business models, less rigid administrative, regulatory and political systems could assist cities to realise these savings and use them to progress their smart city strategy. Furthermore, the sharing economy model makes citizens active participants in many of the smart city initiatives, which again can assist in lessening the cost burden.

Cities have to be deeply involved in developing visions and strategies that will see them taking advantage of the social and economic benefits that these developments can bring.

In many cases people and businesses are ahead of governments in adopting these new developments to their advantage and they are demanding that their local councils also use these new developments to improve the lives of their citizens and the communities they live in.

It is therefore vitally important that cities show leadership, take charge and generate a smart city vision – facilitating the development of a smart city by creating a smart council (abolish silos, open government, open data), stimulating collaboration, and informing and promoting the benefits of a smart city to its citizens.

The development of business and investment models should be done in collaboration with private industry, which should, together with the citizens, start defining what it means for them to be a smart city.

A proactive local government is a vital element in creating a smart city vision and in facilitating those developments that will deliver community benefits in economic progress, energy and water management, telecommunications, sustainability, transport, education, healthcare, community services, job creation and much more.

Post-GFC, with a new economic reality of less federal or state money available for local projects, local government will have to become more actively involved in providing a vision of the future for their city, especially if they aspire to becoming involved in smart cities based on smart infrastructure and smart services. Local councils can be the catalyst in creating a well-connected city, using smart energy, smart telecoms, industrial M2M, consumer IoT, cloud computing, datacentres and data analytics. The best smart city will be the one that has the best apps.

Over the last 15 years BuddeComm has been assisting over 50 local councils in developing smart city strategies.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Introduction
    • 2.1 Mayors taking the lead in building smart cities
    • 2.2 People are ready for smart environments
  • 3. Holistic thinking essential in smart city vision
    • 3.1 Local government
    • 3.2 Holistic thinking
  • 4. The role of local councils
    • 4.1 Infrastructure comes naturally to local councils
    • 4.2 Why should local government be involved?
    • 4.3 Open data
  • 5. How to get started
    • 5.1 Leadership and Smart City Vision
    • 5.2 Smart Council
    • 5.3 PPPPs - cities collaborating with citizens and private enterprise
      • 5.3.1 A collaborative local community model
      • 5.3.2 Framework for local government policies
      • 5.3.3 Stakeholder Groups
      • 5.3.4 Information and education
      • 5.3.5 The city as a platform
  • 6. The Sharing Economy
    • 6.1 Shared community services
    • 6.2 Strategic elements of the sharing economy
    • 6.3 Sustainable communities
  • 7. Paul Budde Consultancy
  • 8. Related reports
  • Exhibit 1 - Gigabit cities
  • Exhibit 2- Trans-sector vs Cross-sector
  • Exhibit 3 – Trans-sector benefits
  • Exhibit 4 - Cities have all the tools to take charge
  • Exhibit 5 - Death by pilots
  • Exhibit 6 – Key steps in developing a smart council

Related Reports

Focus Report Profile


Digital Economy
Regulations & Government Policies
Smart Infrastructure

Number of pages 14

Status Current

Last updated 16 Jan 2017
Update History

Analyst: Paul Budde

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