A smart city uses digital technology to promote performance and wellbeing and to increase its ability to respond to citywide and global challenges.

city, roads, night

Important smart city sectors include energy, water and transport. Interest in the concept has risen in recent years, caused by major events such as climate change and an increase in urban population.

The concept of a smart city is still quite a vague one and there are a number of different definitions which are not always consistent.

The UK government in its smart cities background paper argues that “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 to new challenges”. In addition a smart city could also be defined as a city which uses information and communication technology to ensure that its critical infrastructure and the public service it offers are more interactive.

Smart cities around the globe include Barcelona, Stockholm and Chicago. The European Union has also devised a strategy for achieving smart urban growth.

In the UK some boroughs of London including Greenwich are working on a smart city plan and other areas such as Birmingham are also keenly developing a smart city vision.

Further information

For further information contact our library team.

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