The physicist William Pollard said that “those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”
This is essentially the approach that smart business, technology, and political leaders are taking when it comes to considering the future of cities across the globe. The world’s population currently stands at 7.5 billion – and 54% of it is urban. By 2050 the UN predicts that another 2.5 billion people will have been added to urban populations, adding further strain.
This is increasing the sense of urgency for smart city visionaries to turn their plans into reality – and they also need enough time to test and learn before an urban crisis takes hold.
The first step in planning a smart city project is to identify the constraints on urban populations, followed by defining the concepts and visions that can address these constraints. Once the problem and apparent smart solution has been formulated in initial planning, the project must be cross-examined using all the data available. Smart city projects may seem smart today but do data forecasts also indicate that the project will be fit for purpose after completion? Tomorrow’s critical issues may be different or more pronounced, and your smart city project must be able to cope to avoid becoming redundant or failing to deliver the cost savings that smart cities are capable of.
It’s this future-gazing approach to problem solving via smart technology systems that will define the projects worthy of investment from the rest of the pack.
Another crucial element of the project identification process is finding out who can support and build these projects, and be under no illusion - there are huge risks involved, especially when projects are funded with public money.
Even with the best intentions, overhauling a public system will come under intense scrutiny so it’s vital that the right contractors, materials and project ‘owners’ are identified from the start.
The fastest growing sector for smart initiatives is the automation of industry – but today there are projects that range from NFC enabled parking guides which reduce traffic congestion, to open data schemes that give citizens access to better information about their city. All successful smart city projects – big or small - start with a bold, but thoughtful, vision and must sit on a foundation of careful research.
Oracle Primavera’s SMART City Projects solution helps cities manage these challenges using modern collaborative, social and mobile tools, backed with disciplined project management and analytical applications at the core. To find out more, visit our interactive playbook here.
This post was authored by Werner Maritz, director, public sector and infrastructure strategy, Oracle Construction and Engineering