Although the term “Smart City” is nowadays widely used, especially in spatial planning literature or urban research, it is still necessary to identify and define the various aspects that make a city “smart”.
Concluding from literature research the term is not used in a holistic way describing a city with certain attributes, but is used for various aspects which range from Smart City as an IT-district to a Smart City regarding the education (or smartness) of its inhabitants.
In association with economy or jobs the term “Smart City” is used to describe a city with a “smart” industry. That implies especially industries in the fields of information and communication technologies (ICT) as well as other industries implying ICT in their production processes. Also for business parks or own districts comprising of companies within this field the name Smart City is used.
The term Smart City is also used regarding the education of its inhabitants. A Smart City has therefore smart inhabitants in terms of their educational grade. In other literature the term Smart City is referred to the relation between the city government respective administration and its citizens. Good governance as an aspect of a smart administration often also referred to the usage of new channels of communication for the citizens, e.g. “e-governance” or “e-democracy”. Smart City is furthermore used to discuss the use of modern technology in everyday urban life. This includes not only ICT but also, and especially, modern transport technologies.
Logistics as well as new transport systems as “smart” systems which improve the urban traffic and the inhabitants’ mobility. Moreover various other aspects referring to life in a city are mentioned in connection to the term Smart City like security/safe, green, efficient & sustainable, energy etc.
To sum up, usually there are several fields of activity which are described in relation to the term Smart City: industry, education, participation, technical infrastructure, various ‘soft factors’. A Smart City is a city well performing in a forward-looking way in six characteristics, built on the ‘smart’ combination of endowments and activities of self-decisive, independent and aware citizens:
- Smart Economy
- Smart People
- Smart Governance
- Smart Mobility
- Smart Environment
- Smart Living
Over the past years, Smart City initiatives and projects have become increasingly important throughout Europe for several reasons. However basically most of the projects focus on technical innovations (green urban technologies, ICT) and are often top down driven by investors, global technology concerns or building developers. This approach excludes other urban actors that could play a crucial role for the quality of results and broad acceptance of the solutions for urban challenges.
The EU co-funded project “SMACC – Smart City Coaching – multi-stakeholder training concepts for the city of the future” addresses the most relevant urban actor groups of the sustainable city as target groups (decision makers in public administrations and enterprises, science, research, NGOs, citizens and civil society organizations) and introduces a training concept for so called “smart city coaches” with a view to spread this role at different levels of society as multipliers for the development and support of smart cities.