City governments have a key role in planning, delivering, and ensuring the uptake of smart technologies. The key to success is to define this role adequately.
If we assume that the responsibility of visioning, financing, procuring and managing smart city projects lies solely on the shoulders of cities, then implementing smart city ambitions may seem like a daunting task. In a time of global uncertainty, public officers indeed rarely have the resources and expertise to bear the sole burden of delivery. The good news is that such a delivery model is rarely the only option available.
A successful smart city project will equally benefit technology solutions providers, investors, local businesses and community stakeholders. Provided the vested interests of those parties can align (so that supply matches demand at the correct price), then those actors all have an incentive to drive projects forward.
Because of a lack of market dialogue in the smart city solution markets, those private and public interests rarely align spontaneously. The role of cities is therefore to understand the reasons behind market failure and use the wide array of regulatory, financing and procurement tools at their disposal to address it and encourage market activity.
The current COVID-19 crisis illustrates why cities should avoid relying on a single delivery model to support all of their smart city ambitions. In times of great market disruption/uncertainty it is helpful to have a mix of funding, procurement and delivery strategies to
- spread the risk and costs of disruption between different actors and
- avoid dependency on single providers/ funders who might reconsider their commitment during disruptive periods
Therefore, the delivery models described in the webinar should be seen as complementary – they all have their place as part of a sustainable smart city delivery strategy. Now and in the future.
This webinar will go through four different, but complementary, roles that cities can play to support the adoption of smart city solutions within their boundaries, highlighting funding models and what market failure is addressed for each role:
- Cities as regulators
- Cities as facilitators
- Cities as buyers (direct procurers)
- Cities as partners (public-private partnerships)
The webinar will be moderated by Philipp Tepper from ICLEI Europe and Georg Houben of the European Commission. The discussion will be supported by real life examples from different panelists, who will share their experiences of each delivery model.