From Manchester to Barcelona: Europe's smartest cities put citizens first

  • 2016-04-21
  • The Guardian

Europe’s cities are getting smarter. It’s no longer enough to have clean streets and a passable metro; cities must now be able to have all that and use data to calculate consumption, resource usage and traffic management.

The Digital Agenda for Europe (2010) highlighted the importance of more open data across the EU, which will be used to improve public services and create smarter cities across the continent.

Dietman Offenhuber is an assistant professor at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, in the department of art, design and public policy. He says: “A smart city needs the capacity to sense a current condition, interpret the resulting data to find patterns, and react – or create the capacity for city managers to react – appropriately.”

A smart city aims to improve the quality of life for its citizens, and should be well placed to react to urban challenges. As data opens up, the smarter our cities, the more connected we are as citizens – and the higher our quality of life.