Growing economic competition. The world has seen a rapid rise in competition between cities to secure the investments, jobs, businesses and talent for economic success. Increasingly, both businesses and individuals evaluate a city’s “technology quotient” in deciding where to locate. A real challenge for cities with economies based on heavy industry is creating job opportunities that appeal to recent university graduates so they will stay and help build the kind of high-quality workforce that new industries, for instance those in technology, demand.
Growing expectations. Citizens are increasingly getting instant, anywhere, anytime, personalized access to information and services via mobile devices and computers. And they increasingly expect that same kind of access to city services. In fact, a May 2013 United Nations survey of over 560,000 citizens from 194 countries revealed their top priorities are a good education, better healthcare and an honest and responsive government. We also know that people want to live in cities that can provide efficient transportation, high-bandwidth communications and healthy job markets.
Growing environmental challenges. Cities house half of the world’s population but use two-thirds of the world’s energy and generate three-fourths of the world’s CO2 emissions. If we are going to mitigate climate change, it will have to happen in cities. Many regions and cities have aggressive climate and environmental goals – goals that cannot be reached without the help of smart technologies. Smart cities are better able to address resiliency and adaptation to climate change