Smart Cities are changing the way firms approach innovation, with digital technology creating access to services that improve quality of life in urban areas. So, what will the cities of tomorrow look like? And how will the demand for new services from citizens drive their development?

Do we need a new vision for Smart Cities?

Whether people are ready or not, Smart Cities are here. The demand for the technology behind their development is already huge and will only keep growing. PwC predicts that the global Smart City market will hit an annual growth rate of 23% by 2024, reaching a value in excess of $2tn. But what does it mean for the people living in these urban areas?

Our whole notion of what Smart Cities represent is being challenged. We thought it would revolve around the ideas of connectivity, convenience and access. Co-working spaces, better transport, and linked services are all hallmarks of what our IoT-connected cities can deliver.

However, we live in a time where we’re faced with the effect our basic movements can have on the people and communities around us. This is making us re-examine the relationship we have as citizens with every organisation we interact with. So, what does it mean for Smart Cities? How will the current situation shape their development, and what will their future hold for Smart Citizens?

Watch the full Smart Cities & Smart Citizens TechCity Connect panel discussion on-demand

Building Smart Cities around the people

Ultimately, the aim of any Smart City is to enrich the lives of its citizens – whether through better services or the creation of inclusive, healthy environments. That’s why any organisation involved in creating Smart Cities must look beyond siloed solutions for bikes, bins, and benches to develop systems that make a real difference to Smart Citizens.

Healthcare is a highly topical example, with the technology behind Smart Cities able to deliver increases in air quality and help reduce carbon dioxide levels – improving public health and reducing demand for healthcare services. As well as freeing up vital resources within the healthcare system, this adds to people’s quality of life.

That’s why the focus needs to be on the people. Smart Cities need to empower their citizens to reimagine their lives. They need to go beyond the novelties of connected tech to forge new ways of interacting with the people and organisations around them.

Why Smart Cities can’t grow in isolation

Another key question for each Smart City is how it connects and engages with other Smart Cities. It’s tempting to view Smart Cities as separate entities, as discrete urban areas. But how would this work in practice? For example, how do we encourage a shared set of standards, frameworks and applications that allow an urban area to learn from the successes of others?

All of this is part of a wider conversation around Smart Cities and Smart Citizens that’s shifting and reshaping itself. What will the urban areas of tomorrow look like? How will our vision change, based on the current global situation? And, ultimately, how do they empower Smart Citizens to shape the world they live in?

Discover more about how the development of Smart Cities is shaping innovation in tech. Watch our Smart Cities & Smart Citizens expert panel at the TechCity Connect industry event on-demand, here.