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Projects for Smart Cities: Ecosystems, Connected Intelligence and Innovation for the Radical Transformation of Cities

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Smart Cities and Smart Communities


The aim of this paper is to shed light on projects transforming cities through smart systems, digital technologies, and e-services. The concepts of “smart city” or “intelligent city” appeared in the mid-1980s and since then an extensive array of articles and reports have been published. However, there is still fuzziness about what projects exactly make cities “smart”. This is primarily due to complexity, as smart technologies, IoT infrastructure, crowdsourcing platforms, user engagement, co-design, and new decision-making processes overlap, creating hybrid systems and complex environments in which humans, communities, and machines interact. To understand the projects that make cities smart, we combine a literature review of the smart city supply chain, surveys on smart city projects, and case studies of projects to whose design or development we have contributed. Using data from 20 smart city reviews, we identify how different cities have organised their smart city transformation through projects, tease out the core features of smart city projects, relationships between projects and technologies, and the typology of projects and architectures of integration. In the conclusion, we define the drivers of smart city projects and city smartness along three axes (city ecosystem, connected intelligence, innovation) and nine properties of those axes. We argue that more so than technology, the smart city transformation is determined by systems integrating physical infrastructure, platforms for user engagement, digital technologies, and e-services. System integration rather than smart technologies is the major driver for a radical transformation of city routines.

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    The terms “intelligent city” and “smart city” describe the same transformation of cities with digital technologies, though there are differences in the technologies used (platforms vs. IoT),  impact (empowerment vs. automation), and innovation introduced. Hereafter, we use the terms alternately as denoting the same phenomena.


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Appendix 3.1: Smart City Projects by City and Ecosystem

Appendix 3.1: Smart City Projects by City and Ecosystem

Source Based on city reviews included in the book “Smart City Emergence: cases from around the world”.






Smart City of Evora


• Smart meters, smart homes

• Smart grid

• Public lighting

• EV charging

• Data collection & modelling of energy system


• Reduction of CO2 emissions

• Building retrofitting

• Solar thermal and solar PV

• Recycling

• Promotion of cycling

• Traffic restrictions

• Biofuel buses



Smart City of Torino


• Bike-sharing

• Plan bicycle path

• EV sharing

• Car-sharing service

• Car-pooling

• Traffic zone regulation (restriction)

• monitoring


• District renewal

• Smart squares

Startups, innovation, skills

• Social innovation/startup support

• Youth employment

• Support for public goods and services

Living, safety, health

• Citizen awareness solutions

• Safety solutions

• Active aging


• Information sharing

• Points of interest, city tourism

• Torino as a platform


• Health services from home

• Opening of public spaces to citizens

• Co-designing public services


• Energy action plan: retrofitting, PV panels, RES, LED

• IoT in schools for energy metering and saving



Smart City Leuven


(under optimization of streams)

• Last mile delivery vehicles

• Semi-autonomous bus shuttle

• Bike-sharing

• Policing of shop and parking by sensors


(under optimization of streams)

• Smart city lights and sensor network

• Smart energy grid—interoperability

• Smart energy in building


• Data platform for city administration

• Open data to share data with citizens and entrepreneurs

• Digital Citizen: a digital profile of each citizen


• Living Lab for health(care) innovations

• E-Health site

• Vital City-innovative initiatives for active lifestyle

• Testing wearables to improve health


• University student collaboration

• Working environment for knowledge workers

• Startups in residence



Smart City of Vienna


• ICT integration for buildings and electrical grid Wien-Aspern (Grid, RES, and storage)

• Wien energy. Use of block-chain for transactions

• Clean heat, stable power grid. Excess electricity to heat

• Energy monitoring and intelligent plant control in Airport

• Urban Cool Down. Summer cooling in urban districts


• Make your city smart: toolkit for do-it-yourself building

• Vocational orientation of future jobs, robotics, apps, RES

• Digital agenda Vienna. Interactive development of ideas

• Digital city: ICT education


Sag’s Wien application. Report to the city administration

• e-Government online services, registration, e-signature


• Smart traffic lights

• Car sharing, e-cars

District renewal

• Renovation of former industrial sites, central station, Danube bank, residential areas, and other


(The Netherlands)

Amsterdam Smart City

(hundreds of initiatives at

A few are included)

Digital city

• IoT and sensors

• Digital infrastructure

• Promotion of various advanced technologies (Blockchain, 5G, AI, Drones)


• Energy atlas. Open data map and RES usage

• Energy transition

• Smart grid

• Energy saving at home in city neighbourhoods

• Next-generation renewable energy digital platform


• Mobility as a service

• City logistics

• Bicycle sharing

• Autonomous vehicles

• Crowd monitoring

• Electric vehicles

Circular city

• Building and construction

• Public awareness

• e-Waste

• Make the circular economy and the upcycle visible

• Design-driven solutions to waste and consumerism

• New products from used pieces of plastics & metal

Governance and education

• Transition from smart to inclusive city

• Up-scaling

• Input–output modelling for smart city development

Citizen and living

• Public participation

• Living labs

• Healthy urban living

• Sharing economy

• Social entrepreneurship

• Clean air monitoring



Smart City of Trikala


• Smart parking and parking analytics

• Municipal fleet management

• Fleet analysis with vehicles position and routes

• Traffic lights monitoring for malfunction


• Smart lighting, upgrade to LED and motion sensors


• Smart bins with sensors installed


• Smart water metering


• Sensor-based monitoring and metering


• Public wi-fi

• End-to-end city management system

• GIS geospatial information

• Complaint registration and mobile app

• Public consultation

• Digital payments

Smart Cities in Korea

A common model for all cities:

ICT based growth ecosystems in cities


• Gov with government agents

• Citizen cooperation

• Public–private partnership

• Integrated policy legal system

Startups, innovation, skills

• Innovation led sustainable growth

• Innovative start-up

• Spaces for innovative job creation

• Clustering

• Spread of innovative ideas


• Innovative education


• ICT infrastructure

• Smart city technologies

• Integrated infrastructure with ICT

• Open data

• Big data

• Data sharing and integration

Energy & Environment






Dream Town Internet village

Startups, innovation, skills

• Attraction of high-quality overseas talents in ICT, biomedicine, RES, financial services

• Applications of e-business, software design, information services, big data, security, animation design

• Start-up support

• Start-up incubators and mentoring

• Grants: creative digital tickets (vouchers)

• Angel village, interaction with VC

• Collaboration and use of Alibaba infrastructure




• e-Services for social insurance, taxation, police


• e-Services for information and ticketing

• Transport cloud for information, coordination, service delivery


• e-Services for shopping and online payment


• e-Services in hospitals for medical service, payment


• Hotel reservation, tourism venues, e-payment


• Fire protection

• Police cloud big data platform

• Police analytics and prediction



Smart City of Pune


• Smart grid and solar panels


• Smart metering


• e-Buses

• Electric Rickshaw/Electric Tuk-Tuk in Pune

• ICT-enabled bus

• Smart parking

• Adaptive traffic management



• IT connectivity



Smart City of Nara

District renewal

• Smart campus

• Smart housing district

• Smart grid and solar panel

• Solar thermal

• Energy management platform

• Data centre



Smart City of Singapore


• Elderly mobility using robotics

• App citizen wearables encouraging exercise

• Health monitoring at home

• Health related analytics


• App: User engagement on environmental issues

• App: Understand living conditions at home


• Access to public transportation

• Mobility analytics

• Smart parking

• Autonomous mobility testing


• Citizen database platform-interaction with gov

• Access to numerous public services

• Open datasets

• Platform for sharing ideas

Startups, innovation, skills

• Financial database of business opportunities

• Digital transactions for citizens and businesses

• Digital training programs and fellowships

• Digital tools for innovative development

• Platforms for academic collaboration

• Business grants portal



Smart city of Newark


• Data analytics platform (B2B, B2C, open gov data, crime, vacant lots, employment)

• Industrial analytics platform

• Smart city governance analytics

Quayside Toronto


Sidewalk Labs’ Waterfront Toronto

(before being abandoned)

District renewal

• Self-driving shuttles

• Robot delivery

• Spaces showcasing new technologies

• Dynamic, reconfigurable pavement, allowing different uses and activities throughout the day

• Building envelope technologies (raincoats)

• Responsible Data Use Framework

Porto Alegre


Porto Alegre Smart City


• Integrated command centre

• GIS data centre

• Bio-monitoring (trees, plant, pollutants)

• Training telecentres for literacy and digital inclusion

• Smart city innovation centre


• Real-time monitoring of hospital bed occupation

• Sharing patient information

• Telemedicine, primary diagnoses


(South Africa)

Smart city of Johannesburg


• Crime reporting application

• 911 response application

• Kitestring—check-up and emergency alert


• Intelligent Transport System

• Interactive application—real time transport



Smart City of Tunis

Startups, innovation, skills

• Digital entrepreneurship

• Digital innovation services

• Offshoring—place promotion

• IT promotion


• Administrative services to citizens

• User-centric governance

• Platform for data exchange and interoperability

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Komninos, N., Tsampoulatidis, I., Kakderi, C., Nikolopoulos, S., Kompatsiaris, I. (2022). Projects for Smart Cities: Ecosystems, Connected Intelligence and Innovation for the Radical Transformation of Cities. In: Patnaik, S., Sen, S., Ghosh, S. (eds) Smart Cities and Smart Communities. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, vol 294. Springer, Singapore.

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