The third edition of the Smart Cities Study 2019 prepared by the UCLG “Community of Practice Digital Cities”, focuses on the situation and trends in the area of “Smart Governance”.

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 analysed 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.

Main challenges highlighted by the cities participating in the study:

  • Only 1 in 2 cities participating in the study has an Open Government Plan
  • According to the cities participating in the study, the highest priority for developing Open Government is political commitment, followed by public awareness

Main challenges highlighted by the cities participating in the study:

  • 70%: Promoting a culture of participation
  • 65%: Improve dissemination of the processes, spaces and channels of participation to that they are more popular amongst the citizenship
  • 45%: Design and customization of processes of participation/customization to the target audience (seniors, youth,…)
  • 86% of cities in this study have a Transparency Portal
  • Only 29% prepare studies on citizen perception of the degree of transparency of its management
  • 60% of the cities participating in the study have a Mandate Plan
  • The most commonly used tool for accountability is the permanent website, with face-to-face activities still being an incipient activity

Main challenges of public-private collaboration according to the participating cities:

  • 81% of cities highlight the administrative agility for project development
  • 67% mention in-house Capabilities of the Local Administration
  • 62% consider communication management and citizen perception on public-private projects
  • For 47% of participating cities the adaptation of the legal framework

Main challenges:

  • 80% consider opening culture of data in the Administration. That they are not conceived as own data but of all citizens
  • 55% of cities mention promotion of a greater knowledge by the citizenship and others social agents and business about the potential of open data to generate valuable products added
  • 50% mention identification of the main data of interest depending of the potential of reuse
  • For 45% format improvement and homogenization of the available data
  • 45% believe that systems of obtaining and processing of data in some areas from the city, in which currently information is less should be developed

Strategic planning is more present and developed by cities than the other key elements for local strategic management (Foresight, Advanced analysis and Assessment of public policies).

  • 75% of cities prepare an analysis of the current situation in the city
  • 64% elaborate a definition of a long-term vision and the key trends to consider
  • 61% study the key trends to consider

The study concludes that the current assessment of local policies is more focused on the degree of compliance with the established objectives and the level of execution (actions deployed against the planned ones) with less emphasis on assessing their impact and citizen perception.

  • When asked about their perception of their own level of development in the field of foresight as the key to “Smart Governance,” the average degree of development is 4.6 over 10, which is insufficient. However, cities give a priority of 7 over 10 to the need to work in this area.
  • Only 45% of cities say they use foresight studies to support decision making

According to the cities participating in this study, the most pronounced barriers to the development of advanced analytics is the lack of a data-oriented culture and lack of leadership at a municipal level.