A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of things (IoT) technology in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets. These assets includ e local departments’ information systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other community services. A smart city is promoted to use urban informatics and technology to improve the efficiency of services. ICT allows city officials to interact directly with the community and the city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city, how the city is evolving, and how to enable a better quality of life. Through the use of sensors integrated with real-time monitoring systems, data are collected from citizens and devices – then processed and analyzed. The information and knowledge gathered are keys to tackling inefficiency.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is used to enhance quality, performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to improve contact between citizens and government. Smart city applications are developed to manage urban flows and allow for real-time responses. A smart city may therefore be more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple “transactional” relationship with its citizens. Yet, the term itself remains unclear to its specifics and therefore, open to many interpretations.
Other terms that have been used for similar concepts includ e cyberville, digital city, electronic communities, flexicity, information city, intelligent city, knowledge-based city, MESH city, telecity, teletopia, Ubiquitous city, wired city.
Major technological, economic and environmental changes have generated interest in smart cities, including climate change, economic restructuring, the move to online retail and entertainment, ageing populations, urban population growth and pressures on public finances. The European Union (EU) has devoted constant efforts to devising a strategy for achieving ‘smart’ urban growth for its metropolitan city-regions. The EU has developed a range of programmes under ‘Europe’s Digital Agenda”. In 2010, it highlighted its focus on strengthening innovation and investment in ICT services for the purpose of improving public services and quality of life. Arup estimates that the global market for smart urban services will be $400 billion per annum by 2020. Examples of Smart City technologies and programs have been implemented in Milton Keynes, Southampton, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Stockholm and in China.
Due to the breadth of technologies that have been implemented under the smart city label, it is difficult to distill a precise definition of a smart city. Deakin and Al Wear list four factors that contribute to the definition of a smart city:
- The application of a wide range of electronic and digital technologies to communities and cities
- The use of ICT to transform life and working environments within the region
- The embedding of such Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in government systems
- The territorialisation of practices that brings ICTs and people together to enhance the innovation and knowledge that they offer.
Deakin defines the smart city as one that utilises ICT to meet the demands of the market (the citizens of the city), and that community involvement in the process is necessary for a smart city. A smart city would thus be a city that not only possesses ICT technology in particular areas, but has also implemented this technology in a manner that positively impacts the local community.
Alternative definitions includ e:
- Giffinger et al. 2007: “Regional competitiveness, transport and Information and Communication Technologies economics, natural resources, human and social capital, quality of life, and participation of citizens in the governance of cities.”
- Smart Cities Council: “A smart city is one that has digital technology embedded across all city functions.”
- Caragliu and Nijkamp 2009: “A city can be defined as ‘smart’ when investments in human and social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources, through participatory action and engagement.”
- Frost & Sullivan 2014: “We identified eight key aspects that define a Smart City: smart governance, smart energy, smart building, smart mobility, smart infrastructure, smart technology, smart healthcare and smart citizen.”
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Smart Cities: “A smart city brings together technology, government and society to enable the following characteristics: smart cities, a smart economy, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, smart living, smart governance.”
- Business Dictionary: “A developed urban area that creates sustainable economic development and high quality of life by excelling in multiple key areas; economy, mobility, environment, people, living, and government. Excelling in these key areas can be done so through strong human capital, social capital, and/or ICT infrastructure.”
- Indian Government 2014 : “Smart City offers sustainability in terms of economic activities and employment opportunities to a wide section of its residents, regardless of their level of education, skills or income levels.”
- Department for Business, Innovation and Skills,UK 2013: “The concept is not static, there is no absolute definition of a smart city, no end point, but rather a process, or series of steps, by which cities become more ‘liveable’ and resilient and, hence, able to respond quicker to new challenges.”
It has been suggested that a smart city (also community, business cluster, urban agglomeration or region) uses information technologies to:
- Make more efficient use of physical infrastructure (roads, built environment and other physical assets) through artificial intelligence and data analytics to support a strong and healthy economic, social, cultural development.
- Engage effectively with local people in local governance and decision by use of open innovation processes and e-participation, improving the collective intelligence of the city’s institutions through e-governance, with emphasis placed on citizen participation and co-design.
- Learn, adapt and innovate and thereby respond more effectively and promptly to changing circumstances by improving the intelligence of the city.
They evolve towards a strong integration of all dimensions of human intelligence, collective intelligence, and also artificial intelligence within the city. The intelligence of cities “resides in the increasingly effective combination of digital telecommunication networks (the nerves), ubiquitously embedded intelligence (the brains), sensors and tags (the sensory organs), and software (the knowledge and cognitive competence)”.
These forms of intelligence in smart cities have been demonstrated in three ways:
Bletchley Park often considered to be the first smart community.
- Orchestration intelligence:Where cities establish institutions and community-based problem solving and collaborations, such as in Bletchley Park, where the Nazi Enigma cypher was decoded by a team led by Alan Turing. This has been referred to as the first example of a smart city or an intelligent community.
- Empowerment intelligence: Cities provide open platforms, experimental facilities and smart city infrastructure in order to cluster innovation in certain districts. These are seen in the Kista Science City in Stockholm and the Cyberport Zone in Hong Kong. Similar facilities have also been established in Melbourne.
- Instrumentation intelligence: Where city infrastructure is made smart through real-time data collection, with analysis and predictive modelling across city districts. There is much controversy surrounding this, particularly with regards to surveillance issues in smart cities. Examples of Instrumentation intelligence have been implemented in Amsterdam. This is implemented through:
- A common IP infrastructure that is open to researchers to develop applications.
- Wireless meters and devices transmit information at the point in time.
- A number of homes being provided with smart energy meters to become aware of energy consumption and reduce energy usage
- Solar power garbage compactors, car recharging stations and energy saving lamps.
In order to achieve an accurate description and explanation of the concept of Smart City it is needed to first analyse the topic through a specific framework. The framework is divided into 3 main dimensions:
Several concepts of the Smart city rely heavily on the use of technology; a technological Smart City is not just one concept but there are different combinations of technological infrastructure that build a concept of smart city.
- Digital city: it combines service oriented infrastructure, innovation services and communication infrastructure; Yovanof, G. S. & Hazapis, G. N. define a digital city “a connected community that combines broadband communications infrastructure; a flexible, service-oriented computing infrastructure based on open industry standards; and, innovative services to meet the needs of governments and their employees, citizens and businesses”.
- The main purpose is to create an environment in which citizens are interconnected and easily share information anywhere in the city.
- Virtual city: In these kinds of cities functions are implemented in a cyberspace; it includ es the notion of hybrid city, which consists of a reality with real citizens and entities and a parallel virtual city of real entities and people. Have a smart city that is virtual means that in some cities it is possible the coexistence between these two reality, however the issue of physical distance and location is still not easy to manage. The vision of the world without distance still remains unmet in many ways. In practice this idea is hold up through physical IT infrastructure of cables, data centers, and exchanges.
- Information city: It collects local information and delivered them to the public portal; In that city, many inhabitants are able to live and even work on the Internet because they could obtain every information through IT infrastructures, thanks to the sharing information method among citizens themselves. Using this approach, an information city could be an urban centre both economically and socially speaking; the most important thing is the linkage among civic services, people interactions and government institutions.
- Intelligent city: it involves function as research or technological innovation to support learning and innovation procedure. The notion emerges in a social context in which knowledge, learning process and creativity have great importance and the human capital is considered the most precious resource within this type of technological city. In particular one of the most significant feature of an intelligent city is that every infrastructure is up to date, that means have the latest technology in telecommunications, electronic and mechanical technology. According to Komninos and Sefertzi, the attempt to build an “intelligent” Smart City is more a radical innovation rather than an incremental innovation owing to a big quantity of efforts to use IT trying to transform the daily life.
- Ubiquitous city (U-city): It creates an environment that connect citizens to any services through any device. According to Anthopoulos, L., & Fitsilis, P., U-city is a further extension of digital city concept because of the facility in terms of accessibility to every infrastructure. This makes easier to the citizen the use of any available devices to interconnect them. Its goal is to create a city where any citizen can get any services anywhere and anytime through any kind of devices. It is important to highlights that the ubiquitous city is different from the above virtual city: while the virtual city creates another space by visualizing the real urban elements within the virtual space, U-city is given by the computer chips inserted to those urban elements.
Human infrastructure (i.e., creative occupations and workforce, knowledge networks, voluntary organisations) is a crucial axis for city development.
- Creative city: creativity is recognized as a key driver to smart city and it represents also a version of it. Social infrastructures, like for instance intellectual and social capital are indispensable factors to build a city that is smart according to the human framework. These infrastructures concern people and their relationship. Smart City benefits from social capital and it could be possible and easier to create a Smart city concept if there are mix of education and training, culture and arts, business and commerce as Bartlett, L. said.
- Learning city: according to Moser, M. A., learning city is involved in building skilled workforce. This type of city in the human context improves the competitiveness in the global knowledge economy and Campbell  established a typology of cities that are learning to be smart: individually proactive city, city cluster, one-to-one link between cities, and city network. That lead a city to learn how it should be possible and realistic to be smart trough learning process followed by city workforce.
- Humane city: It exploits human potential, in particular the knowledge workforce. Following this approach, it is possible focus on education and builds a center of higher education, which is the city, obtaining better-educated individuals. According to Glaeser, E. L., & Berry, C. R, this view moves a smart city concept in a city full of skilled workforces; the same reasoning could be make for those high tech knowledge-sensitive industries which want to migrate in a so dynamic and proactive community. As a consequence of the above movement, the difference between Smart City and not are getting wider; Smart places are getting smarter while other places getting less smarter because such places act as a magnet for creative people and workers (Malanga, S. 2004 ).
- Knowledge city: It is related to knowledge economy and innovation process; this type of Smart City is very similar to a learning city, the only difference refers to “a knowledge city is heavily related to knowledge economy, and its distinction is stress on innovation” (Dirks, S., Gurdgiev, C., & Keeling, M.).
- The concept of knowledge city is linked with similar evolving concepts of Smart City such as intelligent city and educating city. The most important feature of this city is the fundamental concept of knowledge-based urban development, which has become an important and widespread mechanism for the development of knowledge cities.
According to Moser, M. A., since 1990s the Smart Communities movement took shape as a strategy to broaden the base of users involved in IT. Members of these Communities are people that share their interest and work in a partnership with govern and other institutional organizations to push the use of IT to improve the quality of daily life as a consequence of different worsening in daily actions. Eger, J. M. said that a smart community makes a conscious and agreed-upon decision to deploy technology as a catalyst to solving its social and business needs. It is very important to understand that this use of IT and the consequent improvement could be more demanding without the institutional help; indeed institutional involvement is essential to the success of smart community initiatives. Again Moser, M. A. explained that “building and planning a smart community seeks for smart growth”; a smart growth is essential what the partnership between citizen and institutional organizations try to do that is a reaction to worsening trends in daily things, like for instance traffic congestion, school overcrowding and air pollution. However it is important noticed that technological propagation is not an end in itself, but only a means to reinventing cities for a new economy and society. To sum up, it could possible to asser t that any Smart City initiatives necessitate the governance support for their success.
The importance of these three different dimensions consist that only a link, correlation among them make possible a development of a real concept of Smart City. According to the definition of Smart City given by Caragliu, A., Del Bo, C., & Nijkamp, P., a city is smart when investments in human/social capital and IT infrastructure fuel sustainable growth and enhance quality of life, through participatory governance.
Platforms and technologies
New Internet technologies promoting cloud-based services, the Internet of Things (IoT), real-world user interfaces, use of smart phones  and smart meters, networks of sensors and RFIDs, and more accurate communication based on the semantic web, open new ways to collective action and collaborative problem solving.
Online collaborative sensor data management platforms are on-line database services that allow sensor owners to register and connect their devices to feed data into an on-line database for storage and allow developers to connect to the database and build their own applications based on that data.
In London, a traffic management system known as SCOOT optimises green light time at traffic intersections by feeding back magnetometer and inductive loop data to a supercomputer, which can co-ordinate traffic lights across the city to improve traffic throughput.
The city of Santander in Cantabria, northern Spain, has 20,000 sensors connecting buildings, infrastructure, transport, networks and utilities, offers a physical space for experimentation and validation of the IoT functions, such as interaction and management protocols, device technologies, and support services such as discovery, identity management and security In Santander, the sensors monitor the levels of pollution, noise, traffic and parking.
Electronic cards (known as smart cards) are another common platform in smart city contexts. These cards possess a unique encrypted identifier that allows the owner to log into a range of government provided services (or e-services) without setting up multiple accounts. The single identifier allows governments to aggregate data about citizens and their preferences to improve the provision of services and to determine common interests of groups. This technology has been implemented in Southampton.