The vital role of the government in Smart Cities

Government smart cities

As a result of the fast pace of technological developments and their consequences for cities, city governments need to adapt quickly. Smart City governments will have a mix of roles.

Consultancy firm Deloitte describes these roles as follows:

‘A smart city is the result of the efforts of many stakeholders, working together in partnerships of different shape and form. Smart cities require a government that is able to combine several vital roles. To be most effective, city government must make deliberate choices on the mix of roles through which it engages city challenges in the most effective way. Each role must be developed at a mature level.

  • Strategist & Advocate: Sets out a clear direction for the city: what is our vision and ambition as smart city and how do we want to realize this? Furthermore: be an active advocate of the city as innovative hub for new business.
  • Director & Regulator: Create or change laws and regulations to allow new business models and disruptive entries, and simultaneously protect the interests of citizens and users of the city.
  • Connector & Protector: Secure modern transportation infrastructures, energy grids and digital networks. Set standards and take measures to make these vital infrastructures resilient and safe.
  • Innovator & Investor: Apply the principles of innovation in the internal organization and processes. Stimulate innovative solution by acting as launching customer.
  • Steward: Create an environment in which new businesses and smart solutions can emerge and grow. For example by providing ‘open data’ and by facilitating startups.
  • Solution enabler: Build ecosystems by gathering parties that normally do not work together to deliver creative new solutions that neither of the parties could have realized on its own.’

The good news for cities: Cities can work together and learn from each other, much better and easier than nations. The solution which works for city A might work equal for city B. Cities need to make their solutions interoperable, scalable and replicable so that other cities can use them as well. This will accelerate the development and implementation of the solutions, while lowering the costs and preventing lock-in.

‘Due to partnerships, ecosystems and a lot of experimentation cities will become much smarter in the upcoming years. Governments are setting up strategies and partnerships to shape the future of becoming a smart city. Smart cities are here to stay and the government plays a vital role in this process.’

*) Source: Deloitte

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