Singapore is a great example for smart city planners everywhere, where they try out smart tech from all around the world to see if it will work. Their National Research Foundation is building 3D models of the city and feeding real data from city sensors into these models to help in the running of the city and in responding to natural disasters.
They have driverless vehicles transporting people around university campuses, automated public cleaning systems based on information from smart litter bins and plans to reduce the number of private vehicles on their streets in favor of autonomous public transport.
Across the world, more and more people are living in cities with the percentage based in urban centers now close to 75% in most developed economies. The recent explosion of interest in smart cities and smart city planning is a natural response to this on two fronts. Firstly, the imperative is there for local authorities and city planners to make cities better places to live for their citizens. Secondly, there is a clear correlation between well-planned city environments and economic success. So the advantages are clear, but how do we actually lay out the framework for it? Here, we take a look at the smart city planning process.
Common Phases In Smart City Planning
In the broadest terms, there are two stages to a smart city process, the planning, and the implementation. However, when laying out a plan, much of the implementation structure needs to be included in it and, for that reason we will touch on the implementation stage here.
Planning starts with initiative areas and guidelines being handed down from a higher national or supra-national authority. At this early stage, there is an opportunity to do research and attend conferences to determine the scope of your specific project. Following this, and from here on in, is the need to go to the citizen population to begin engagement and feedback. This process cycles back to the planning documents and the ideal scenario is one in which there is an open line of communication between the smart city team and the general public, so as to avoids any potential missteps. Project funding and sponsorship, including the building of a stakeholder network from the business community will work in tandem with this stage of the process and act to broaden or narrow the scope, depending on the resources that become available. The comparison of alternative methods, software and hardware required to implement, along with cost-benefit analysis should be used to ensure the best tools are being chosen for the project. Finally, permissions required should be sought early, and the legal/regulatory framework should be mapped to avoid any project delays.
Implementation, based on the planning research should be clear in its timeline and stage goals. The stages include implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and adaptation. There is a clear need to try to pull this implementation phase into one project software as the amount of data generated, not to mention stakeholders will be hard to manage in disparate tracking systems. Data collection, task assignment, and analytics should all be maintained in a database CRM structure to facilitate all the stages outlined above. Planning to ensure this structure is in place, along with the open channels of communication with the broader stakeholder landscape, namely the citizenry are critical points in a smart city project and should be locked down at an early stage if possible.
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