This week in my Future Learn Smart Cities course, we’ve been talking about the importance of good city leadership and management, as well as whether smart cities should be managed on a smaller and larger level. I’ve been trying to make a real effort to comment on every page of the course, as I find that it really helps my understanding. So I’ve copied my comments below with a bit of explanation.
On the leaders required for a smart city project:
While every city is different, I think that most would need the mix of politicians, industry leaders, academics and community champions that Lorraine mentioned, in order to have cover as many points of view as would be needed.
On how smart city projects are funded in different places –
Maybe it would be good in places like the UK, if projects would bid to a central funding agency, the same way that lottery funding or arts funding works.
In the next section, we compared the leadership styles of two cities when it came to running smart projects, Amsterdam (where the projects are run mainly by commercial organisations) and Chicago, where the current mayor had the idea of running smart projects on a civic basis. Most other course members felt that Chicago’s approach was better, but I did have some reservations about this approach.
The example of Chicago is great, but I wonder about it from a leadership standpoint as it’s driven by the vision of one leader. If/when he has to step down, his successor may be less driven or less interested. I recognise the criticism of the Amsterdam model as it is commercial- driven, but there is perhaps an incentive for those companies to work more to long-term goals.
We then looked at CITIE (City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship) case studies.
The north of England as a connected set of cities was an example, which I mentioned in the course comments, since it’s an example of how cities work better together, rather than as isolated entities.
CITIE Case Study link: http://citie.org/stories/launch-citie-northern-powerhouse-analysis-new-report/