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.

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.

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.

In conclusion, the following characteristics have been identified based on the information provided by the cities participating in the study, both for the fields of study and for the key barriers and facilitating elements identified:

  • 75% of the participating cities have a smart specialisation strategy, 60% of which have been formalised.

  • 85% of the cities have programmes to support entrepreneurship, and 55% have specific spaces to incubate emerging companies.

  • 70% of the cities have science-technology parks in their metropolitan area.

  • 75% of the cities have formalised collaborations between the city and local businesses.

  • The cities identified the skilled human capital, the concentration of innovation centres and the geographic positioning of the cities as the main factors for attracting investments.

  • All the cities have a positioning strategy (particularly those focused on promoting tourism).

  • Despite identifying the significance of having skilled human capital, only 20% of the cities have combined models of advanced professional training.

  • 75% of the participating cities have specific lifelong learning programmes (particularly focused on senior citizens, civil servants and the unemployed).

  • 55% of the cities have programmes to attract talent, especially for young researchers and post-graduate students.

  • The programmes to retain talent and have it return have been identified as a priority under development, so only 25% of the cities have this type of mechanisms.

  • 70% of the cities have programmes to help people left out of the digital world to enter it (50% have programmes geared towards children and youths).

  • There are Big Data programmes in 60% of the cities.

  • The digital support for entrepreneurship is present with 65% of the participating cities having specific support programmes.

  • With regard to smart and digital infrastructures, the degree of deployment is high: 85% of the cities have specific projects to promote this physical infrastructure.