The "Smart Cities Study 2023" is now available!

Once again, we would like to inform you of the publication of the "Smart Cities Study 2023". This fifth edition focuses on cities as innovation-driven ecosystems, spaces for collaboration and creativity where pilot projects are generated in response to social and economic challenges. These projects drive R&D&I from a public-private perspective and contribute to the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

The study, developed by the UCLG Digital Cities Community of Practice chaired by the city of Bilbao, highlights the current situation and the main trends in the six axes that make up smart cities: Smart Economy, New Mobility, Environment, Digital Citizenship, Quality of Life and Smart Governance.

Through the participation of 20 cities from 16 countries, the study identifies local good practices that can be transferable to other cities internationally, and also visualizes the barriers and enablers for the development of smart cities. In addition, it establishes connections between these good practices and the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, with the purpose of serving as a reference guide for other cities interested in advancing to Smart Cities in their contribution to the SDGs.

The study is available in Spanish and English.

The Study can be downloaded here.

Preparation of the Smart Cities Study 2023

Over the coming months, the new Smart Cities Study 2023 will be released. It is entitled "Cities as innovation ecosystems contributing to the achievement of the SDGs".

The Smart Cities Study 2023 focuses on cities as innovation-driven ecosystems; spaces of collaboration, creativity, and innovation where pilot projects are generated in response to social and economic challenges in society.  These projects drive R&D&I from a public-private perspective and contribute to the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Study is approached with a global and transversal focus on the axes of growth and transformation of a smart city. Its objectives are:

  • To visualise the current situation and the main trends in the axes of smart cities at local level.
  • Show success stories (good practices) that can serve as a reference for other cities to advance in the concept of "Smart City".
  • Identify the main barriers and key enablers that can have an impact on the development of smart cities.
  • Link the good practices shown in each of the six axes at local level, in their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals defined in the 2030 Agenda.

Focus group for the elaboration of the Smart Cities Study 2023

In the focus group, carried out simultaneously with two groups (English and Spanish) on 10 May 2023, two participatory dynamics were conducted with the participating local governments:

1. First dynamic- in order to identify initiatives, projects and good practices in the 6 axes of the study (smart economy, new mobility, environment, digital citizenship, quality of life and smart governance), and link them to the achievement of the SDGs.

2. Second dynamic, to identify the main barriers and enablers of innovation at the local level, as well as to define the main SDGs that are addressed in local governments for each of the axes of the study.

Both participatory dynamics were attended by more than 30 representatives of local governments at the international level.


The fourth edition of the Smart Cities Study 2021 developed by the UCLG “Community of Practice Digital Cities” focuses on the resilience of cities, and, especially, on analyzing how the covid-19 pandemic has induced cities to adopt “smart” measures to fight the negative effects that the pandemic has generated and that have contributed to the improvement of their resilience.

The Study aims to understand the pre-pandemic situation of cities, identifying their level of digitization and the “Smart” resources and tools they had. It analyses what impact the pandemic had on the different areas of local governance and what new “Smart” measures or tools were used to combat the negative consequences that were generated. Finally, the study determines to what extent these types of actions have served to increase the resilience of cities, and to assess the usefulness of the new measures and tools for combating future crises.

In this edition, 35 cities from 20 countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia have participated.

The study is available in Spanish and English

You may find more information in the following link:

Participate in the “Smart Cities Study 2021”

The UCLG Digital Cities Community of Practice seeks to promote the development of a common vision and dynamics among local governments in favour of an inclusive Information Society that favours the reduction of the digital divide and the use of new technologies as a lever for the development of sustainable and competitive cities.

Its main objective is to update the “Smart Cities Study” every 2-3 years. This study takes a global and transversal approach to the different levers where the potential for growth and transformation of a city resides.

So far, 3 editions of the Study have been published: 2012, 2017 and 2019 and now is time for a new edition of the study, which aims to understand the pre-pandemic situation of cities, identifying their level of digitization and the "Smart" resources and tools they had, to analyse what impact the pandemic had on the different areas of local governance and what new "Smart" measures or tools were used to combat the negative consequences that were generated and to determine to what extent these types of actions have served to increase the resilience of cities, and to assess the usefulness of the new measures and tools for combating future crises.

A survey has been designed for the development of this study, addressed to the cities, having as goal the gathering of information, essentially qualitative one, on the situation and features of each city in these fields.

We encourage you to contribute to the performance of the study by filling the survey before the 31st of May 2021. Access to it can be found in the next link: Smart Cities Study 2021/Survey for the cities

Should you have any problem accessing the online version of the Survey you can download it in Word format  here and send it to


Digital Technologies and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The 4th Live Learning meeting was again hosted by UCLG, Metropolis and UN-Habitat on April 15. The series started late March and has brought together over 1,000 participants from local and regional governments, the UN system, partners from the civil society and the private sector. Cities across the globe have shared their experiences, initiatives and actions in response to the pandemic. They also shared their frontline views on how cities may transform beyond the outbreak.

The live learning session on Digital Technologies highlighted the role of new technologies during the pandemic and beyond.

Mousa Hadid, Mayor of Ramallah, the Deputy Mayors of Barcelona, Laia Bonet, and Milan, Roberta Cocco, as well as representatives from Bogotá, New York CityAmsterdam, and Xi’an, together with partners from the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ITCs (C3ICT), and the Head of the Open Government Partnership Local took part in the session, introduced by Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, and Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General of Eurocities.

Maimunah Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, expressed her concern regarding the digital divide, and mentioned how cities and regions can contribute to ensuring that digitalisation leaves no-one and no place behind. On the principle of Human Rights First, also online, she commended the Coalition of Cities for Digital Rights on their work on  advancing universal access to technology, data security, transparency, and non-discrimination.


Half the world’s population is connected to the internet – the other half is not,” she observed. “Existing inequalities in developed and developing countries will be widened further. Cities can do a lot to ensure that the digital revolution does not leave anyone or any place behind,” she said.

The Executive Director of UN-Habitat also highlighted that it is time to look at the outcome of COVID-19 as “the new normal”, and how lockdown unlocks opportunities for introducing new technologies and for alternative ways of working.

Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General of Eurocities, highlighted how the pandemic was showcasing new ways of working that had not been implemented at this scale until now, and warning that technology is not a fix-all solution, stated that: “We need to strike a balance. We need to make sure for the future that we watch out to ensure technologies won’t infringe people’s rights.”

The first part of the session, aimed at showcasing digital actions undertaken by municipal governments from all over the world and how technology can be shaped by communities in the midst of the outbreak, was moderated by Francesca Bria, President of the Italian Innovation Fund, and UN-Habitat Adviser on People-Centred Smart Cities. The second part, facilitated by UCLG, highlighted the use on technology on the ground, and how the pandemic was affecting our daily lives.

Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, described how the  city isreducing the digital divide, as a cornerstone of its broader efforts to guarantee universal public services, and how Barcelona had brought in the private sector.

We have witnessed the fact that digital technologies delineate social inequalities. What we are learning is important: if such inequalities can be addressed in a context of crisis, they can also be addressed after the outbreak. We should approach digitalization as a human rights issue”

Privacy was one of the key issues, with Barcelona focusing on the management of data in the aftermath of the pandemic, and Roberta Cocco, Deputy Mayor of Milan, looking at how the city should support citizens through technology, but not if this posed a risk to rights. The concept of smart living beyond implementing tele-working was also introduced by Cocco, pointing to a full digital transformation having been started.

"We put citizens at the very centre of our action plan. Digital technologies have been the backbone of our response, playing a fundamental role from delivering public services, to securing the basic necessities for those most in need. Now we are working on the tools and a robust digital inclusion strategy that will serve the reopening of our cities to make sure that no one will be left behind.”

The City of Amsterdam argued against the concept of “techsolutionism”, and the idea that technology, in itself, is enough to combat the pandemic. It was further highlighted that it was critical to avoid false dichotomies between security and privacy by ensuring that the use and ownership and data are with public interest in mind. This sentiment was also echoed by Scott Campbell, representative of  the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who argued that, while technology is an enabler, it is up to governments at all levels to use technology in a way that can protect human rights. An all-of-government response to digitalization was called for by Amsterdam, and  resonated as well with the Open Government Partnership, who called for a multi-stakeholder approach to address digitalization, and in particular to ensure that the data being accessed by companies and governments does not interfere with the rights of the individuals.

An important aspect when addressing the digital divide is how it affects people with disabilities, with G3ICT stating that the recovery phase after  the outbreak needs to ensure more accessibility as we move towards the digital era.

Mousa Hadid, Mayor of Ramallah, argued that local and regional governments have a responsibility towards their citizens to guarantee safety, and stated that Ramallah had worked to ensure a response from day one and was already thinking about how technology could be used in rebuilding

“We are seeing the engagement of people in the city though technology, and it is important to think about the aftermath, the day after the crisis finishes, we need to think about the psychological aspects, how we can use technology to service communities then.”

Dubai shared their experience of implementing working from home, and how over 70,000 public employees were able to do so after a simulation implemented before the crisis hit. The city of Bogotá highlighted digital education as a cornerstone of their work, and argued that this had exposed some of the underlying inequalities both digital, and economical that students face, and called for a wider alliance to ensure technology reaches all who need it.

John Farmer, Chief Technology Officer of New York City highlighted how the digital divide was both a human rights issue and about public health.  The city was working to accelerate the delivery of the #InternetMasterPlan to bridge the digital gap also in urban areas by bringing universal broadband and providing universal access to the Internet in the city.

“Folks talk about digital divide as rural vs. urban, but it also affects urban dwellers, and this can be seen from neighborhood to neighborhood. There’s work that needs to get done to fix this. Let’s bring the Chief Technology Officers as change makers in the picture.”

The city of Xi’an, which is now in the recovery phase, also emphasized their efforts to ensure on-line education since the beginning of the outbreak to students of all ages. It further presented their initiative to create a Big Data Bureau to contribute with information supporting sanitary measures, such as location of people with symptoms.

Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, closed the session, recalling the relevance of the key principles that guide the work of cities for digital rights in facing the global pandemic. The technical and human infrastructure for smart citizens is enabled by technology, she argued, but it is necessary to enhance the role of local and regional governments in gathering and protecting their citizens’ data.  She also touched upon the consideration of access to the Internet as a basic service, stating that “it is critical to ensure service provision in order to ensure accessibility, and this entails bringing all actors, even the private sector on board. We need to define access to information as critical, and cities will need to lead the way in the defence of digital rights. Our role, as local government networks, will be to foster and put together strategies to ensure this happens.”

Cities were called to upload their experiences in the platform where over 200 cases can be found.

The live learning exercises will continue throughout the month, taking place on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the crisis. Migration, Culture, Local Economic Development, and Local Finances will be among the topics covered as cities around the world are looking at how to overcome challenges with a new generation of solutions.

Source: UCLG
More information:

The «Smart Cities Study 2019» is now available

We are glad to inform you that after intense months of work, we have finally concluded the elaboration of the Smart Cities Study 2019.

For this, success stories have been identified and the main keys on smart governance and its main areas of action, open government and advanced strategic management in cities have been analyzed as factors in the transformation of smart cities.

24 cities participated in the study, mostly members of the UCLG Community of Practice Digital Cities. In order to understand the cities’ current situation, a questionnaire was created asking about the key areas that characterize Smart Cities and an information collection form was designed.

The main conclusions of this work point to the need to deepen a Smart Governance by cities, both in the field of open government, and in advanced strategic management, where there is still ample room for improvement:


Open government:

  • It is necessary to go from having a Transparency Portal to accountability, both on the achievements and also on the failures.
  • To go from asking the opinion about something defined, to create a design with the citizens “from scratch.”
  • To incorporate in greater extent all non-organized citizens into the participation processes, approaching the spaces where the citizens are located.
  • Deepen collaboration with other stakeholders.


Advanced Strategic Management:

  • Strengthen strategic planning processes.
  • More and better assessments, giving more weight to the concept of “impact assessment” and developing “more participatory” assessments.
  • Give higher priority to Foresight Studies and Advanced Analytics. These are still emerging tools in most cities, but they are key for the development of a clear vision for the future and for efficient management of public resources that generate social value.

The study is available in Spanish and English

You may find more information in the following link:

The Committee publishes the second edition of the Smart Cities Study 2017

For the elaboration of the study 20 cities from all around the world have participated through the sending of the data collection form with the information of their city.

The second edition of the “Smart Cities Study 2017” elaborated by the UCLG Committee of Digital and Knowledge-based Cities aims to provide information in a didactic way on the different strategies and projects that cities around the world are putting in place, in order to move forward on the key aspects that make up a “smart city”.

Cities are fully immersed in the Knowledge Society. We are increasingly hearing about smart factories, smart cities and smart specialisation strategies. The development of the “smart” concept is thus playing a central role in economic development strategies in our cities and regions.

Based on identifying good practices at the local level, this study analyses the key factors associated with Smart cities in fields such as innovation, entrepreneurship, knowledge and talent, and the digital economy.

The study is available in Spanish and English.



The Connected City Blueprint is now available

The Connected City Advisory Board (CCAB) from the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) would like to share with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) the release of the first Connected City Blueprint.

This report intends to work as a guideline to support cities and government authorities to develop Connected City plans outlining factors to consider. It also provides a set of case studies to be used as a benchmark for future connected city deployments.

CCAB members hope this report can provide insightful information and best practices for the development of a connected city. CCAB plans to continue to evolve and grow the Connected City Blueprint and would like to invite United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) members to participate and provide additional use cases and critical topics to be addressed by the Blueprint.

The next version of the Connected City Blueprint is planned to be released on the CCAB meeting on 14th November that coincides with the Wireless Global Congress in New York City (13-15 November 2017).

For additional information please contact the Tiago Rodrigues (

Take part in the WBA Smart City Research Initiative

Our partner, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the Connected City Advisory Board and IHS Markit have taken the initiative to initiate quarterly research on specific topics relating Smart Cities.

The results of the market research will be made available in the form of white papers (developed by IHS Markit Research) to the participants of the survey, the WBA and CCAB members, UCLG Committtee of Digital and Knowledge-based Cities members and via IHS Markit and WBA mailing lists.

The first survey focusses on smart city activities around safety and security.

Please take 5 mins. of your time to complete this survey, as the results will help shape the smart city activities.

To access the survey, please visit All responses will be kept anonymous.