smart city (jamesteohart/

Toolkit for building a smart city plan

The Smart Cities Council has launched its Smart Cities Project Activator, a web-based portal to help cities collect and organize the information they need for smart city project planning.

Users answer a series of questions about a proposed smart city project covering their city’s specific needs, the challenges it's trying to address through the project, previous efforts and what partners the city brought on.

“We’re talking about data that cities already have -- it’s just not organized, it’s not put together in a framework that allows them to get to the point where they can deliver the benefits,” Smart Cities Council Managing Director Philip Bane said.

In 2016, the council conducted a survey that found the biggest barriers facing cities trying to start technology projects are financing and capacity, meaning the organizational resources and processes to move these projects along. Questions regarding how a technology worked were still important, but less of an issue, Bane said.

“We’ve reached this point where we understand that the market is beyond just talking, beyond just reading, but the cities want to be able to accelerate their progress toward delivering benefits,” he said in an interview.

The questions are meant to help cities assemble all the information they need – whether that be for an entire citywide smart city plan or the procurement of a single solution -- in one location. The portal then has 27 different modeling tools that help cities determine if they have enough data for a business case analysis or to issue a request for proposals.

The Smart Cities Project Activator will be used by applicants for Smart Cities Readiness Challenge grants in October. After that it will be opened up to any city in the world that wants to use it to plan smart city projects.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a former reporter for GCN.

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