The twinned impacts of the rising trend of urbanization and climate change contribute to the growing complexity of the challenges facing today’s cities, calling for action on multiple fronts to address issues of sustainability. In striving to reduce their environmental impact, improve social equality and quality of life, as well as ensuring a thriving, globally competitive business sector, city governments must explore new models of governance that utilizes the full extent of their ecosystems.

In an effort started in 2013 to support the world’s cities in forming new strategic approaches for tackling these challenges, the CIB ("Conseil International du Bâtiment" or the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction), a collection of over 5,000 from some 500 member organizations in the field, complied a task group on Smart Cites. The task group was assigned with creating a strategic roadmap to facilitate the buildup of the capabilities cities need in developing their smart city strategies. The task group addressed the roadmap from a variety of perspectives, looking at political, social, market, environmental, and technological aspects influencing the course of development.

The roadmap was intended to proceed from a general definition of the main issues influencing the development, as well as the key stakeholders and the systems, process, and technologies that concern them. The next phase of the roadmap sought to definite the state of current research to determine what challenges this may pose as work continues towards realizing the ambitions. Before the group could proceed to define what work was necessary to proceed, they set out to envision the state of development in ten years. Having defined this future target, the group was then able to form a list of the knowledge, tools, concepts, and applications necessary to realize this transformation and the various contributions research could make in this development.

As a final product of this work, the group formed a worldwide agenda for research which itemized the areas of science and technology development that called for further effort. The group formed recommendations for each theme included in smart city development (Energy; Buildings, infrastructure, urban planning; and Transport and mobility), however, some of the main recommendations covered all theme-areas in the roadmap:

-Digitalization, new technologies interlinked and interoperable systems allow multi-criteria optimization which should be used whenever possible.

-Resiliency, safety and security issues have high priority.

-Integrated planning and management should be the baseline for future city planning and operation.

-Since cities have many stakeholders the communication and tools for easy to understand communication is increasing.

-Take advantage of cross-disciplinary working and co-creation foster new innovations.

-Importance of energy management at building and district level as well as the use of low carbon energies increases.-

-Future ownership and service models are changing; traditional value chains are also changing to new eco-systems.

-Upgrading existing infrastructures and building stock is essential, new business concepts including new models for ownership are needed.

Read the full roadmap 

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Reframing City Districts (ReCiDi)

A research project conducted by the Universities of Turku and Tampere which aims to form a new conceptual framework which will help shape the collective identity and common vision necessary to realize the future low-carbon and sustainability targets.

Systemic Architectures for Sustainable Urban Innovation (SASUI)

An action learning and research project conducted by Aalto University and the University of Tampere which aimed to form a better understanding of the architectural requirements for successful innovation projects.