- More than 40 city leaders offered insight on how to deploy technology and innovation to benefit entire communities in a new guidebook dubbed "The Future of U.S. Cities."
- The report, authored by the Centre for Public Impact in partnership with The Aspen Institute and the Boston Consulting Group, indicates that how innovation occurs is as important as what is done with such innovation. Cities should "innovate with intention" by centering on legitimacy, equity and agility to achieve long-term impact.
- The guide offers examples of this intentional innovation, including Austin, TX's creation of a homeless advisory committee, Detroit's launch of a mobility innovation initiative and Philadelphia's crowdsourcing strategy for placing bike-share docking stations.
Many organizations now offer guidebooks to help leaders make their way through the smart city journey. Some address smart city challenges, successes and strategies as a whole, while others focus on one of the numerous aspects related to being a smart city, such as utilities and sustainable energy, mobility, broadband, safety and security and equity.
Although the term "smart city" is not new, it still is an emerging concept and industry. Learning from others' experiences and collaborating on new ideas can help leaders find the solutions of best fit for their own communities. Small cities with fewer resources at their disposal and less ability to test ideas and innovations especially can benefit from the knowledge gained through smart city guidebooks and road maps.
Guidebooks that provide concrete examples of strategies certain cities have employed often prove more useful than those that simply present concepts without examples. Case studies offer scalable strategies for other cities to emulate rather than having to start from scratch with implementation plans.
"Cities are epicenters of innovation, opportunity, and delight. Especially in an age of ‘smart cities,’ city leaders will need to continue innovating with an intentional focus on equity to ensure that all city residents are able to reap the benefits of new tools and technologies," said Jennifer Bradley, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Center for Urban Innovation, in a statement.