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What is a Smart City?


PHILADELPHIA PA--In 2017, the City launched the SmartCityPHL initiative to help improve service delivery for its broad community of residents, businesses, and visitors. While developing a roadmap to guide this initiative, we engaged community members and organizations in workshops designed to build a shared foundation for how technology can make Philadelphia a better place to live.

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At its most basic level, the SmartCityPHL Roadmap defines a smart city as one that uses data and technology to improve the quality of life for those who live, work, and visit our diverse city.

To further shape the development of smart city projects and technology, we identified four guiding principles unique to Philadelphia’s approach:

Locally-inspired: We will pursue projects that accurately reflect the needs of Philadelphia’s communities and use the unique assets, culture, and existing resources present in the city.

Innovative: We will grow our capacity for research, discovery, piloting and evaluation to develop creative solutions to municipal challenges.

Equitable: We will strive to engage and invest in our diverse communities so that all Philadelphians can benefit from and contribute ideas to smart city activities.

Collaborative: We will collaborate on project development and implementation with stakeholders and partners from government, private sector, startup, civic technology, academia, and local neighborhoods.

These goals represent primary considerations when forming and evaluating SmartCityPHL projects.

Pitch & Pilot, a new program designed to identify and test innovative approaches to municipal challenges, is a prime example of putting these principles into practice. The SmartCityPHL guidelines drive Pitch & Pilot’s process of choosing challenges, soliciting and evaluating proposals, and assessing the success of a pilot project. Our goals for this exciting initiative are to engage Philadelphia’s diverse community and work together to discover solutions to the city’s challenges.