A contemporary concept referring to an urban region that features highly advanced inter connected infrastructure, transportation and built environment, in general, and information and communications technology (ICT), in particular. Many technological platforms are involved, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centers.
“Smart city” is primarily a marketing term, promoting the production, exchange and consumption of such technology. The concept originated during the world economic crisis of 2008, when the IBM Corporation began work on a “smarter cities” concept as part of its Smarter Planet initiative. By the beginning of 2009, the concept had captured the imagination of many private- and public-sector innovators across the globe, becoming one of the many lucrative businesses forming the so-called “green economy.”
The positive aspects of the smart city include a promised public benefit from enhanced quality, performance, efficiency and interactivity of urban functions and services, reduced costs and resource consumption, more-convenience access to information and improved contact between citizens and government. Certain smart city technologies also seek to enhance public security through digital monitoring, data exchange, surveillance and reporting applications.
Some negative aspects of a “smart city” are the high cost in financial resources and time, especially for taxpayers and consumers who would have to pay the bill for projects over the projected 20–30 years required to build a “smart city.” Many cities seeking to become “smart” may require special investment regions or special economic zones with modified labor standards and tax incentives to attract investment, where much of the funding for these projects would have to come from private developers and from abroad, in addition to the maintenance and operation costs that tend to form a major part of public-private procurement and service contracts.