The Smart City in 6 dimensions
In concrete terms, what types of projects represent a Smart City approach? Although there is no unanimous definition or universal model of the Smart City (see our article dedicated to the explanation of the concept), it is nevertheless possible to understand its mechanisms through 6 key dimensions.
Foreword: What is the Smart City?
IN BRIEFA Smart City
- an ecosystem of stakeholders
- engaged in a process of sustainable transition and improvement of the quality of life
- in a given territory (urban or not)
- which uses digital technologies to carry out related actions.
The 6 dimensions of the Smart City: a widely recognised academic categorisation
> Municipalities' understanding of the Smart City concept: An exploratory analysis in Belgium
> Sustainability Accounting and Control for Smart Cities
The Smart Economy dimension - Sustainable competitiveness and innovation
The Smart Mobility dimension - Moving better and differently
These innovative mobility solutions are part of a plan that will focus on local and international accessibility, the availability of information and communication technologies (ICT) and modern and sustainable transport systems.
The Smart Governance dimension - Participation and transparency
To achieve this, they integrate all the stakeholders concerned (public organisations, companies, civil society, etc.) into the decision-making process, in particular by encouraging citizen participation and/or by using new technologies (e.g. e-services or intelligent management and the provision of data - Big Data Management).
The Smart Environment dimension - Sustainable management of natural resources
As indicated in our definition of the Smart City above, when we talk about the Smart City, we also talk about sustainable transitions. In this perspective, territorial actors pay particular attention to the management of natural and heritage resources. A management that is therefore more thoughtful, but also more sustainable.
Thus, the sustainable and smart territory leads reflections on the use and production of green and renewable energies, on more sustainable methods of food production or on the use of new technologies in order to optimise the management of resources (energy, air, water, waste, etc.). Urban agriculture, for example, is at the crossroads of these major issues.
The Smart People dimension - Inclusion & education
Thus, through the Smart People dimension, innovation and the use of new technologies aim to improve knowledge management, access to education and social capital.
The Smart Living dimension - Quality of life at the centre of the dynamic
The 6 dimensions as a common thread for the Smart City
Did you know ?
On the basis of these 6 dimensions of the Smart City, Rudolf Giffinger has defined 31 relevant factors, which reflect the most important aspects of each of them. Each of the factors is further subdivided into groups of corresponding indicators. Thus, using this method, he proposed a ranking system for Smart City initiatives, based on these criteria and the 6 dimensions of the Smart City.
But does a sustainable and smart territory have to include all these 6 dimensions ?
There is no single method to foster this continuous process, as each territory has its own specificities and characteristics. The choice of dimensions to be prioritised by the municipality will therefore depend on its particular context and the needs of its users.
This is why being "sustainably smart" does not imply developing projects in all areas from the outset. It is rather a matter of favouring a systemic approach, with a well thought-out strategy and innovative actions, involving the different stakeholders, as well as citizens. Not only must we be smart in the solutions developed (= purpose), but also in the implementation of these projects (= process)."