Liz Yee, 100 Resilient Cities

Three main trends for smart cities in 2015

At 100 Resilient Cities we are seeing cities change the way they think, plan, and operate to get stronger and become more resilient. Here are three big ways smarter cities are changing.


1. Smarter cities are aggregating and analyzing data they already have.


Cities are amassing data faster than they can use it. Smart cities have harnessed technology to make that data actionable by aggregating and analyzing it. They share it with the public to encourage behavior change. And they extract knowledge from the data for more informed planning, investing, and even policing, like the NOLAforLife (http://nolaforlife.org/home/) project in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


2. Smart cities are broadening their engagements because problems transcend municipal borders.


Smart cities are using technology to increase citizen engagement and borrowing lessons from other cities that share challenges. For example, Meu Rio (My Rio) collects input from the people of Rio de Janeiro to promote active participation in city decision making. Through Our Cities, (http://www.nossascidades.org/en/founders) Rio is networking with cities from all over the world, planning to transfer the methods and lessons surfaced in this process to young entrepreneurs everywhere.


3. Smart Cities are orienting everything they do around resilience.


Resilience thinking lets cities get more from investments, and smart cities are applying resilience to direct their infrastructure investments – and a lot will be needed in the next decade – and their management. New York City plans to implement the “Big U,” a storm barrier that will also provide public space with social and environmental benefits. Smart Cities are also thinking across silos of government and society to coordinate holistically. For example, Rio de Janeiro put their new Chief Resilience Officer in charge of their Operations Center to prioritize cross-silo collaboration in project management and disaster response.


Cities at the cutting edge aren’t just focusing on investment or tech, they are applying resilience thinking to optimize how they plan and operate.