Municipalities around the world are looking to emerging technologies as a method of “upgrading” or enhancing operations and services. They are beginning to augment design processes, seek ways to better serve their communities and, ultimately, prepare for a more connected and data-centric future. Many such initiatives at the city or community level fall under the umbrella concept of “smart cities.”
While Canadian municipalities come with unique needs and opportunities — considerations including population size, quality of infrastructure, energy needs, connectivity capabilities, labour market characteristics all play roles — many are undertaking a variety of projects in the hope of building a “smart” future.
This monitoring report examines national and international examples of smart city initiatives that took shape — either in concept or rollout — during the March 2019 to March 2020 period, and which also fall under ICTC’s key smart city priority areas: smart energy and environment, smart infrastructure, smart mobility, smart government, smart health and wellbeing, and smart regulation. Although this report does not investigate the early changes to urban centres as a result of COVID-19, it describes existing initiatives, highlights the technologies or concepts used, and addresses the potential labour market implications.
Although not intended to be an exhaustive comparison, these case studies point to the symbiosis between communities (encompassing urban/rural/cities/towns etc.) and human-centric design principles. ICTC will continue to monitor these developments over time, including the emerging impacts of COVID-19 on urban life.