Introduction to Smart Cities: Page 10 of 14

Lack of financing. Tax revenues are shrinking in many cities, making infrastructure projects increasingly difficult to finance. In fact, some cities have been forced to implement austerity measures – such as furloughing employees one day a month or cutting back on travel and discretionary expenses. Yet if those cities remain old-fashioned while others modernize, they will suffer even more, since cities must now compete globally. Fortunately, new financial models are emerging. And payment innovations like e-Procurement or electronic benefits can help cities reduce costs and free up money to invest in infrastructure and other improvements. Some of them require little or no upfront capital from the city. Instead, the city “rents” its solution as it goes. And performance contracts and shared revenue models between the city and solution vendors provide cities with attractive financing solutions. What’s more, many smart city solutions have a rapid payback so that they save money over the long run. In many cases, the technology can actually improve the city’s economic return.

 

A new view of city apps.
Early city applications were inward-facing and intended just for city employees. Today, more and more cities are producing outward-facing apps.  For example, to get citizens involved in cleaning up London before the 2012 Summer Olympics, the city worked with Council member Microsoft on the Love Clean London portal (above) and companion  mobile app that gave citizens an easy way to alert authorities to litter and graffiti by texting or uploading images. It’s still being used today.