Federation for
Housing and

Newman, Hall and ‘Smart Cities’

The challenges of the rapid urbanization call for new ways of thinking urban planning and development, which have led to new strategic concepts such as ‘Smart Cities’.

The rapid urbanization across the globe creates multiple challenges in planning, development, and operation of cities. These challenges call for new ways of thinking urban planning and development, which have led to new strategic concepts such as ‘Smart Cities’. A key idea in this approach to developing cities is to find ways that data and information from the city is systematically monitored and used to manage the city more effectively economically and environmentally.

‘An ‘intelligent’ or ‘smart’ city is one that meets its challenges through the strategic application of ICTs to provide new services to citizens or to manage its existing infrastructure’ (Accenture, ARUP and Climate Group, 2011).

While smart initiatives are underway in urban centres around the world, most cities have yet to realise the enormous potential value from fully-integrated, strategically-designed smart city development programmes.

During the World Cities Summit, the IFHP travel-squad talked with some of the speakers about how ICT-companies increasingly are discovering cities as a new major market, and in this way also influences the urban planning agenda around the world. Here is what they responded: 

Professor Peter Newman, Curtin University, Perth:

‘I do believe that we need both smart and sustainable cities. This is the agenda, and what we call the sixth wave of economic development. It is what is now called the sixth wave of economic development – and the two go together. We are building on that digital revolution and adding to it the sustainability dimension. The problem is that if you just have smart technologies it can be very unsustainable. It can be smart and be doing the world’s worst things for the planet, i.e. smart freeway-systems that are destroying the city. If we don’t have ways of getting people out of cars we will never make them sustainable. I do worry about the ‘smart agenda’ about controlling anything. We got to be wise as well as smart and sustainable.’

Professor Sir Peter Hall, University College London:

‘I can see that IT companies have been extremely interested in the question of the future of cities recently. I think that technology can contribute hugely to running cities as it has over the last 200 years. I see it as an opportunity rather than a threat but I don’t believe that IT is the beginning and end of which are finally based on human face to face interaction.’

The massive presence of major IT companies such as SIEMENS, IBM and Panasonic at the World Cities Summit in Singapore in July 2012, indicates that a whole new market is emerging.

Photos: Søren Smidt-Jensen

 A recent report from PIKE Research ( forecasts that investment in smart city technology infrastructure will total $108 billion during the years from 2010 to 2020. By the end of that period, the cleantech market intelligence firm anticipates that annual spending will reach nearly $16 billion. The smart cities market is driven by the growth of smart energy, smart transportation and smart security among other sub-markets. The smart energy management market is expected to grow from $22.9 billion in 2010 to $80.7 billion in 2016, while the smart transportation and smart security markets will grow to $68.8 billion and $307.2 billion, for the same forecast period.

Apart from the increasing adoption of smart technologies in smart cities, the associated services market is supposed to grow exponentially. The services market consists of traditional services (maintenance, repair, replace, upgrades or operations outsourcing), advanced services (consulting etc) and software services (business analytics, cloud computing etc.). Software adoption within smart cities is a visible indication of the trend toward data integration to bind disparate systems. Big players such as IBM and Accenture have tapped this potential significantly to establish leadership in the market. Infrastructure players such as ABB, Siemens, Alstom, and Schneider and leading technology vendors such as Cisco all have established a significant market presence through large-scale deployments across smart cities.

Read more: Global Investment in Smart City Technology Infrastructure to Total $108 Billion by 2020, According to Pike Research - FierceEnergy

Recommended reading: Accenture, ARUP & Climate Group (2011) The New Economics of Cities.

A list of some of the global companies making smart city programmes