Smart Cities

Smart Cities

Mischa Dohler , Carlo Ratti, Jurij Paraszczak, Gordon Falconer


It is through Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) that Smart Cities are truly turning “smart”. This is facilitated by means of services that use, among others, networked sensors and actuators deployed in the city, allowing the monitoring of the urban environment in real-time, to react just in time if needed and to establish automated control processes with less or even without human intervention.


Given the importance of ICT, we are currently witnessing a shift of industries in the urban space: an arena prior dominated by heavy infrastructure providers, is now increasingly occupied by operators and service providers. This is being facilitated by an important transition within the ICT sector from simply providing data pipes towards designs which exploit the actual content of the gathered data. Said “Big Data”, collected from the crowd or sensors, provides unprecedented opportunities to optimize operations in a city and thus improve urban living.


This special issue, the first of its kind, focuses on ICT technologies, allowing for Smart City rollouts, deployments and growth. Part of the gamut of technologies have been researched and developed for years already, others are new. However, their composition and application in the area of smart cities is unparalleled and accounts for the tremendous upsurge of work in this area, which is mainly attributed to the unique timing between the undeniable need for making cities more efficient, and an enormous set of ICT technologies having become available and affordable.


From the large number of submissions, we have assembled nine papers which yield a fairly complementary and complete picture of the technology landscape in smart city developments: 1) smart city business models; 2) architectural implications due to business models; 3) wireless access of smart city traffic through M2M; 4) wired backbone offload of aggregated smart city traffic; 5) management of these heterogeneous technologies; 6) crowd-sourced data from/for smarter cities; 7) Big Data mining approaches; 8) Big Data exploitation through API-stores; and 9) privacy issues.


We hope that this feature issue appeals to both the academic and industrial readership, and inspires future work in the emerging area of Smart Cities.