Through smart city initiatives, digital technologies are increasingly applied in cities to modernize city operations and transform service delivery. The ongoing digital transformation provides new opportunities but also creates challenges, and it is increasingly apparent that delivering effective urban digital services is a complex task. Nowadays, smart city projects are typically driven by technology and little attention is given to governance dynamics. In addition, the novelty and complexity of many smart city initiatives make it difficult for public sector organizations to fully grasp how to effectively manage digital transformation processes.
As many cities and public sector organizations across the world have been experimenting with smart city initiatives, their actions have generated a data-rich environment from which to learn. As such, this report features findings from a systematic literature review and a global online survey completed by approximately 300 respondents, who have reported on the smart city governance practices of more than 250 municipalities in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America.
With the objective to support both urban managers and practitioners, the report highlights several dimensions for effective smart city governance and ways to foster a people-centered approach to smart cities. It serves as a knowledge resource to present best practices, gaps in smart city governance mechanisms, and the various elements to consider when governing the planning and implementation of smart city initiatives.
The report is part of UN-Habitat’s strategy to promote a people-centered approach to digital transformation supporting local governments in establishing the right capacities, regulatory frameworks, collaborations and arrangements for using technology to advance human developments and show commitment to human rights, both in online and offline environments.