Smart city

What is a Smart City?

Smart cities use information and communication technologies to better manage their use of resources. This results in energy and cost savings and a reduced environmental footprint.

These cities equipped with intelligent infrastructure, which provides a clean and sustainable environment in order to give a decent quality of life to its citizens and drive economic growth.

Application of smart solutions enables cities to use information and technology to achieve connected and intelligent infrastructure. Smart solutions would include things like:

  • Energy management: Smart meters and management, renewable sources of energy, energy efficient and green buildings
  • Waste management: Waste to energy and fuel, waste to compost, recycling and reduction of waste
  • Water management: Water quality monitoring, smart meters and management, leakage identification, preventative maintenance
  • E-Governance and citizens services: Citizens engagement, electronic service delivery, video crime monitoring
  • Urban mobility: Smart parking, integrated multi-modal transport, intelligent traffic management
The world's smartest cities infographic

Pioneer Smart Cities

(Cities that are already “smart”)

Vienna, Austria

  • Innovation city
  • Regional green city
  • Quality of life
  • Digital governance

Smart mobility:

  • Over 1200 km of cycle paths, lanes and routes
  • Quando: Award-winning smartphone app with real-time information, including timetables and disruptions for trams, buses and subway trains
  • Public transportation network amounting to over 1100 km in length
  • Citybike Vienna: public bike rental system

Smart technology: 

  • Free WiFi available in various public spaces


  • Over 50% of metropolitan area made up of green spaces


  • City is one of the largest organic farmers in Austria with over 860 hectares of organic growing land

Set the following objectives via the Smart City Wien Framework Strategy

Reduction of CO2 emissions: From 3.1 tonnes per capita to 1 tonne per capita by 2050

  • From 3.1 tonnes per capita to 1 tonne per capita by 2050


  • 50% of Vienna’s gross energy consumption to originate from renewable resources by 2050


  • Reduce motorized individual traffic from 28% to 15% by 2030

Toronto, Canada

  • Private sector move to increase transit efficiency via the Smart Commute Toronto initiative
  • Powering garbage trucks with natural gas from landfills
  • Active member of Clinton 40 megacities, seeking transition to low-carbon economy

Paris, France

  • Innovation
  • Green cities in Europe
  • Digital governance
  • Velib – highly successful bike sharing system
  • Autolib –electric car-sharing service to reduce traffic and pollution, while helping residents save money

London, United Kingdom

  • Congestion tax
  • Robust transit system
  • Smart-Cities research centre to be housed at Imperial College, which will use data to make the city more innovative and efficient
  • Plans to launch largest free WiFi network in Europe with O2

Tokyo, Japan

  • Innovation
  • Digital city
  • Plans to create Eco-burb containing homes with solar panels, storage batteries and energy efficient appliances connected to a smart grid
  • Focused on promoting smart mobility solutions

Berlin, Germany

  • Innovation
  • Green-ness
  • Quality of life
  • Testing out vehicle-to-grid technologies to create virtual power plant from EV’s
  • Aims to generate 80% of electricity from renewable sources by 2050


The Upcoming Smartest Cities 

(Cities that have plans and targets but not yet started to work on being “smart” and eco-friendly)

San Jose, USA

Green Vision Goals for 2022 (including % of 2022 target reached in 2014 from 2007)

  • Generate 25,000 clean tech jobs (48%)
  • Decrease per capita energy use by 50% (7.6%)
  • 100% of electrical power to be received from clean, renewable sources (23.7%)
  • Build or retrofit 50m square ft. of green buildings (18.5%)
  • Divert 100% of waste from landfill and convert waste to energy (73%)
  • 100% of wastewater to be recycled or beneficially reused
  • Ensure 100% of public fleet vehicles run on alternative fuels (41%)
  • Replace 100% of streetlights with smart, zero emission lighting (8.9%)
  • Plant 100k new trees (12.3%)
  • Create 100m of trails connecting with 400m of on-street bikeways (56.8%)

Seattle, USA

Green Seattle Partnership, 20-year strategic plan:

  • Restore all 2,500 acres of forested parklands by 2025
  • Stimulate an active, involved and informed community around forest restoration and stewardship
  • Establish resources, financial and volunteer, to provide long-term maintenance and ensure sustainability of forested parklands

Climate action plan:

  • Carbon neutral by 2050

Philadelphia, USA

  • Energy benchmarking and disclosure designed to reduce citywide energy use by 10%
  • Green City, Clean Waters, a plan to reduce stormwater pollution through the use of green infrastructure

Goal progress report:

  • Recycling increased by 20% through recycling rewards program
  • Municipally, greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 15%
  • 15.2% of electricity used in the city comes from alternative energy resources
  • 16,283 homes retrofitted with insulation, air sealing and cool roofs
  • 73% of solid waste diverted from landfill
  • 120,388 new trees to help meet goal of increasing tree coverage toward 30% in all neighbourhoods by 2025
  • 12% decrease in vehicle miles traveled


Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, New Orleans and Portland have all implemented more aggressive emissions targets than the national standard. Cities plan to achieve these goals through increased building retrofits, renewable energy, tree planting, better public transportation, and more.


Cities that are turning to be “smart” 

(Cities that are currently working on plans and programs and are slowly turning to be “smart”)

Barcelona, Spain

  • New bus network
  • Electric vehicles
  • Smart rubbish collection
  • Smart water
  • Energy self-sufficiency
  • Urban transformation
  • Smart lightening

Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Integrated transport and cycling solution
  • Landfill from waste has been reduced to 1,8%
  • Heating 98% of the city through district heating
  • Urban green solutions
  • Goal to be carbon neutral by 2025 (reduced CO2 emissions)
  • Large recreational areas
  • Sustainable city districts
  • High availability and consumption of organic produce
  • 71% of all the city’s hotel rooms hold an official eco-certification.
  • High environmental standards


  • Plans to create smart nation – to ‘dashboard’ the entire nation to collect data in order to help build better services

Sustainable Singapore goals:

  • 0.8 ha / 1,000 population park space open to recreational activity
  • 1,039 ha of waterbodies open to recreational activities
  • 90% of households within 10 minute walk of a park
  • 180km of nature ways
  • 700km of cycling paths
  • 75% of journeys made via public transport during peak hours
  • 80% of households within 10 minute walk of a train station
  • Reach national recycling rate of 70%
  • Domestic recycling rate of 30%
  • Non-domestic recycling rate of 81%