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What is a Smart City?
April 3, 2023

What is a Smart City?

While not many people have heard of this upcoming trend, smart cities create growth and development opportunities through the collection of data. To improve operational efficiency, a smart city uses information and communication technology (ICT); this improves quality of government service, citizen welfare, and allows information to be seamlessly shared with the public. The primary goal of is to optimize city functions, promote economic growth, and improve daily life for citizens. This concept is important and with affect the future of “city living” because 54% of the world’s population live in cities and is expected to increase to 66% by 2050. This increase entails another 2.5 billion people being added to the urban population, which calls for the need to manage environmental, social, and economic sustainability of resources.

Now, one may ask how a city’s smartness is determined. Some factors include environment initiatives, effective and highly functional public transportation, if people can live and work within the city, along with an infrastructure based around technology. A smart city success relies on the relationship between private and public sectors to create a data-driven environment. Data is collected through technologies such as AI, Mesh Networks, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing Services, and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

Smart cities follow four steps to improve the overall quality of citizen life, along with enabling organic economic growth. The steps include:

  1. Collection – Real-time data is collected through smart sensors.
  2. Analysis – Once data is organized, it is used to gain insights the operation of city services and operations.
  3. Communication – Decision makers are presented with data results.
  4. Action – Based on decision results, action is taken to further improve operations, optimize assets, and enhance quality of life.

While we aren’t quite labeled a smart city, Pittsburgh ranks among the top cities in the U.S. for green certified building spaces. Other U.S. cities dove head-first into this data-driven approach including Austin, TX, Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, Washington, D.C., and New York City, New York. As Pittsburgh continues to adopt new “smart” standards, what new integrations do you predict we’ll see next?



Brady, M. (2023, February 1). 10 US cities ready for a ‘smart city future’. Smart Cities Dive. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/10-us-cities-ready-for-smart-city-future-los-angeles-nyc-dallas-austin/641686/

Pittsburgh: From Steel City to Smart City. Visit Pittsburgh. (2023). Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/about-us/about-pittsburgh/technology-in-pittsburgh/#:~:text=Pittsburgh%20has%20undergone%20a%20dramatic,a%20top%20%E2%80%9CNextTech%E2%80%9D%20city.

What is a smart city? TWI. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/what-is-a-smart-city#SmartCityDefinition