“People” is one of six key systems of a city we identified as part of our research for the recently published study titled ‘A vision of smarter cities – How cities can lead the way into a prosperous and sustainable future’. The people system describes how cities interact with their citizens and refers to the human and social networks a city provides. It also includes public safety, health and education, as well as quality of life. In speaking to other attendees at the recent and very exciting Smarter Cities conference in Berlin, it again and again became increasingly clear how central the people system is. Indeed, one could argue that the other five systems we identified – water. energy, transport, communication and business – in many ways only exist to support the people system.
Of course, this is not something new and has already been embraced by, for example, town planners like Jamie Lerner in principles like ‘people over cars’, and Michael O’Hare’s ‘cities for people’, but it is worthwhile remembering. The ultimate target of ‘smartness’ and smart technology are and will be people living happy, healthy, wealthy (in more ways than one) lives in cities that combine prosperity and wellbeing with sustainability. One of the ways cities can proceed on this path is by doing some benchmarking with a Smarter City Assessment tool, which was announced at the event in Berlin. How do you think your city fares?