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PLAN: Planning Across Four Levels of Smart City

Paris, 1852. Emperor Napoleon III has just commissioned Haussmann’s bold remodeling of Paris, marking the birth of one of the most famous and radical modern city planning projects. Between 1853 and 1927 Haussmann’s renovation transformed the space within the city – replacing overcrowded streets with wide boulevards and green space. Haussmann ushered in an era of modern city planning – imposing regulations on building façades, public parks, sewers and water works, city facilities, and public monuments that would meet the demands of a growing metropolis.

Fast forward 160 years and attention has turned to the opportunities of Smart Cities.

The success of a smart city project relies on the commitment of all stakeholders and economic support - whether it’s public or private – to see the project through to completion. That’s why half the battle of getting such a project off the ground is to plan thoroughly. When presenting a convincing, workable case for a smart initiative, you need to win over the hearts, minds and wallets of supporters.

To give a project the best chance of winning funding it’s important to consider all four layers of a smart city and how they will run alongside each other. Planning must consider how every layer of the smart city project will be technologically supported, how the people involved will be kept informed and how they can offer robust controls and deliver ROI.

4 layers:

  • The user layer (all stakeholders)
  • The service layer (what’s offered by a smart city)
  • The infrastructure layer (the network supporting the deployment of smart services)
  • The data layer (securing and harvesting all the information gathered)

The EU has even laid out a formal overview of the funding options for smart city projects up to 2020. It includes thematic objectives for smart cities seeking support, from low-carbon initiatives to social inclusivity projects, which can be useful when examining what your city or project wants to achieve.

A truly smart plan – be it for an online public service or a manufacturer’s fully automated cooling system – needs to complement existing urban facilities and planning processes. In the same way, urban planning regulations will have to evolve to accommodate the often complicated architecture of a smart city project.

For example, when Milton Keynes in the UK wanted to implement super-fast broadband, it was discovered that the main hurdle was the existing phone network where the cables have a high aluminum content rather than the required copper. This was a major and costly implementation hurdle discovered during the network build, which should have been identified earlier.

In such a competitive market it’s also a huge bonus when projects can engage all stakeholders in a single vision, with a comprehensive information center that can give multiple parties visibility of real-time project progress and problems.

Planners need to demonstrate how the project will be managed, how risks will be mitigated and ultimately how a project will deliver ROI. The more real-time information stakeholders can access the better – it helps keep everyone informed but also helps a smart city project integrate with more traditional urban infrastructure plans.

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 discussion paper on minimizing waste in smart city project planning and execution here.

This post was authored by Werner Maritz, director, public sector and infrastructure strategy, Oracle Construction and Engineering

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