The Age of the Smart City: Better Cities Through Smarter Infrastructure

A city’s strength is defined by how well it delivers essential services, identifies and responds to the needs of its citizens, and supports equity within its society. The advent of smart cities—municipalities that harness the power of data and the Internet of Things to improve the performance of infrastructure and city services—has unleashed unprecedented opportunities for cities to better themselves and the quality of life of their citizens. These potential gains are not automatic. City leaders will need to balance the cost of integrating new technology with maintaining existing infrastructure, find partners and financing to support the work, and ensure that the poor and vulnerable also share the benefits that accrue. In this article, Nicole Dupuis, Principal Associate for Urban Innovation in the City Solutions and Applied Research Center at the National League of Cities, explores the choices facing cities as they confront this staggering challenge.

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