Smart Cities and data-driven policy

During the inspiration moment around 'City of Things' (VLAIO), CityD delivered a keynote on 'The future of data-driven policy'. Data is the power source for Smart Cities, but which data is important and how should it be collected? Mathias Declerck, core reinforcement expert at CityD, explains which principles Smart Cities should take into account and what we can learn from pioneers such as Barcelona, Singapore or Toronto.

The importance of data

Every city or municipality, small or large, cannot escape the trend of digitalization. Digitalization and the use of technology involves data. Data is the power source for Smart Cities. But collecting data does not make a city smart. Possibly not even a little smarter. Why not? The answer was explained in detail by Mathias Declerck during the inspiration moment of City of Things.

Under the heading 'City of Things – Smart Economy', VLAIO has supported various initiatives in recent years. CityD was involved in a number of these projects and was therefore able to open the closing event with a keynote on 'The future of data-driven policy'.

Follow the evolution

With the exception of a few major cities, Flemish cities and municipalities are still in their infancy in the evolution towards a successful Smart City. Initiated by a number of projects via Flanders or the provinces, here and there the first (baby) steps are being taken. These are usually solitary initiatives. However, the concept of a Smart City has already been growing for several decades. These solitary actions too often ignore the fundamentals. Did you know, for example, that experts are already talking about Smart City 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0? Even 4.0 is on its way. That evolution did not happen overnight. Cities all over the world have been experimenting and learning for decades. It may be major cities such as Barcelona, Singapore, Toronto or Helsinki that are pioneering. Nevertheless, the learnings and the resulting principles to be monitored are important for all municipalities regardless of the scale.

We already reveal some important guidelines:
  • Data is a means, not an end
  • First set clear goals and only then collect data; not the other way around
  • The evolution towards a Smart City is a participatory process. Increasing the comfort for residents and visitors is important.

The focus is on an integrated approach, clear objectives and the right expertise to translate the collected data into actions or adjustments. A data-driven policy is therefore only part of the evolution towards smarter cities or municipalities, but a very important one!

Would you like to know more about the data-driven policy (presentation in Dutch)?

Are you looking for insights, support or data processing? Would you like to know more about our City Marketing and Centre Management pillar? Would you like support from DataD's experts for market research & analysis, feasibility & needs research, market strategy & marketing advice? Contact us for a no-obligation (digital) appointment! The CityD-WES team is happy to assist you.

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