Many cities in the U.S. and around the world have started the process of transformation from analog to smart and sustainable. The process tends to starts with the implementation of a series of independent infrastructure systems connected to a digitally linked network. Yet, the transformation process for cities is still in its early stages.
Many cities and communities have taken different approaches. There are many different components and systems for a city to choose from in deciding how and where to start. Transformation also requires the involvement of various players. This article discusses the players and the evolution of cities as they race to be Smart & Sustainable.
The overall goal for a smart and sustainable city is to provide a lifestyle and environment which is effective, efficient and enjoyable. There are many different ways to approach this goal. It becomes a function of how active each of the players becomes and the community’s geographical assets and constraints.
The initial dimension to consider is the players. There are four predominant player groups: People (Citizens), Business, Built Environment (the people who develop and own buildings), and the Government. These four groups are the main players in any city or community. They each have different roles, goals and responsibilities (see Diagram 1 below). There might be distinct interactions in which two groups overlap. When all four players work together in unison, the outcome becomes a sweet spot: a smart and sustainable city. When one or more of the groups aren’t involved, then the outcome is very different. As with any group, there needs to be a team leader. In many communities the team leader is the local government. The team leader is not responsible for funding or doing all the work, they are simply the facilitator to initiate teamwork among the players. In some instances the government does not always take this leadership role or is not effective. In these cases, Citizens fill the leadership void as they have a material vested interest.
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Originally written by Mike Zamora