What is a Smart City?

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What is a Smart City? What are the needs that have to be addressed? How? The different interpretations of the concept of smartness made by the business, the institutional and research community prevent a shared vision and shared smart city. Here are some of the main definitions of smart city developed at national and international levels.


 2000 Hall, R. E. 

«A city that monitors and integrates conditions of all of its critical infrastructures including roads, bridges, tunnels, rails, subways, airports, sea-ports, communications, water, power, even major buildings, can better optimize its resources, plan its preventive maintenance activities, and monitor security aspects while maximizing services to its citizens.»

  2007 Giffinger, R. ed altri

«A city performing well in a forward-looking way in various characteristics, built on the smart combination of endowments and activities of self-decisive, independent and aware citizens»

  2008 Komninos

«A territory with high capacity for learning and innovation that is built on the creativity of its community, its institutions for the creation of knowledge and its digital infrastructure for communication and knowledge management» omninos

  2009 Caragliu, Del Bo e Nijkamp

«A city can be defined Smart when investment in human and social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication infrastructures fuel sustainable economic growth and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources through participatory governance.»


2010 Harrison, C. ed altri 

«A city “connecting the physical infrastructure, the IT infrastructure, the social infrastructure, and the business infrastructure to leverage the collective intelligence of the city”»

2010 Toppeta, D. 2010

«A city “combining ICT and Web 2.0 technology with other organizational, design and planning efforts to dematerialize and speed up bureaucratic processes and help to identify new, innovative solutions to city management complexity, in order to improve sustainability and livability.”»

2010 Washburn, D. ed altri 

«The combined use of software systems, server infrastructure, network infrastructure, and client devices (Smart Computing technologies) to make the critical infrastructure components and services of a city, namely administration, education, ealthcare, public safety, real estate, transportation, and utilities, more intelligent, interconnected, and efficient»

2012 Natural Resources Defense Council 

«A Smart City is a city striving to make itself more efficient, sustainable, equitable, and livable»


2012 Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale 

«A local context where the planned and wise use of human and natural resources, properly managed and integrated by numerous ICT technologies already available, allowing the creation of an ecosystem that can make best use of resources and provide integrated services and getting smarter»

2012 Ratti, C. 

«A city can be said to be intelligent if it is technological and interconnected, clean, attractive, reassuring, efficient, open, collaborative, creative, digital and green»

2014 Commissione ITRE per l’Industria, la Ricerca e l’Energia del Parlamento Europeo 

«A city that deals with public issues through the use of ICT, based on a multi-stakeholder partnership»

2009 UE Strategy Energy Technology Plan

«A city that makes a conscious effort to use innovative information and communication technologies (ITC) to support a more inclusive, diverse and sustainable urban environment»