The Smart Cities Council is a for-profit, Partner-led association for the advancement of the smart city business sector. More than contributing to their partner’s business success, it is a major stakeholder to promote the move to smart and sustainable cities. During the webminar organized on March 18th by Meeting of the Minds “Smart cities: Turning Information into Action”, Jesse Berst, Smart Cities Council chairman, gave us his vision of a smart city and some advice for cities to get there.

Digital technology and intelligent design constitute a mean to take these three main challenges that cities face: workability (providing high-quality infrastructure to attract jobs and talent), sustainability (taking into account climate change and preserving resources), and livability (providing high-quality living to compete with other cities, considering that nowadays young people are ready to move everywhere).

According to Jesse Berst, a smart city is a city that uses more than ICT to enhance these three goals: shares infrastructure, costs, data and policies across departments. Collaboration and openness are thus at the heart of the process. He summarized what “smart” really means: a city where “the infrastructure talks and listens,” referring to the full picture of the city you achieve through sensors and meters (congestion level on the street, energy use in buildings, etc), the optimization solutions and the predictions that you can provide based on this information.

A promoter of smart city technologies, the Smart Cities Council has some advice for a city to become smarter, which can be summed up by “think big and start small”:

– Create a 20-30 year vision of the city’s future, which requires defining and agreeing on the city’s strengths, big challenges, and aspirations.

– Create a smart city taskforce with a visionary leader and involve all the stakeholders on a regular basis.

– Look for quick wins, answering this question: “where can you address your challenges that bolster your strengths and advance your aspirations?”

To know more about the Smart Cities Council: here.