Defining “smart city” for Austin
“For every technology advance or item, multiple issues need to be addressed that go beyond the technology itself. We must look into policies, relationships, and intended and unintended consequences.” - City of Austin employee
Taking advantage of the benefits of emerging technologies (and mitigating their risks and unintended consequences) requires that we also build relationships between government and community, provide leadership, and collaborate across programs and sectors.
Austin’s definition of a smart city is grounded in the International Standards Organization definition of a smart city, which recognizes the role of people and collaboration in leveraging technology:
We are a city that becomes increasingly efficient in solving real problems for real people by:
- engaging stakeholders and users,
- leading collaboratively,
- working across disciplines, departments, and city systems; and
- using data and integrated technologies
to transform services and improve quality of life with and for all Austinites, businesses, and visitors.
Within this definition, there are three key components that resonate with Austin’s value of putting residents first:
- It complements our open government commitments to civic participation, transparency, accountability, and use of technology and innovation methods.
- It incorporates Austin’s values of inclusion, accessibility, and equity.
- It takes the hype out of smart cities by grounding it in real problems, with essential ingredients of engagement, leadership, and collaboration that are enhanced by technologies and data.
Let’s talk about open government too
In Austin, we strive to be “open by default” – to use open source code, share data, and engage the people impacted by public services in the creation and improvement of those services. These same guideposts apply to our smart cities projects as well.