The roadmap for creating ‘smart cities’

25th April 2019
Alex Lynn

Last summer, Sadiq Khan published his ‘smart city roadmap’ for London. With its overarching goal of creating a fairer, more prosperous and more equal place for all Londoners, the Major of London’s plan is just one example of how major global cities are leveraging technology and data to improve the lives of citizens and visitors alike.

By Oliver Gassmann, Jonas Bohm and Maximilian Palmie

Examples of smart city innovations include sensors on lampposts that monitor CO2 emissions and noise levels, car and bike sharing, smart bins used for traffic information as well as recycling, and the rehabilitation of existing buildings and structures like the New York High Line.

In ‘Smart Cities: Introducing Digital Innovations to Cities’ the authors begin by establishing the new role of cities and go on to explore how the ‘Smart City’ concept promises to solve the most pressing urban issues including mobility, energy, water supply, security, pollution, housing deprivation, and inclusion.

Despite certain ‘lighthouse-cities’ including Barcelona, Munich, Lyon, London and Vienna leading the way, there are major discrepancies between these leading smart cities and those that are less aspirational. For many stakeholders, developing the best plan of action to execute a transformation into ‘smart city’ is confusing and uncertain.

This in-depth, informative and accessible roadmap provides a wealth of answers and case studies to questions that remain unanswered for many cities. These include:

  • What core elements constitute smart cities?
  • How can the digital shadow of city elements be utilised?
  • Where lies the greatest potential? What is the ideal starting point?
  • What procedures have other cities applied?
  • What can be learned from greenfield-approaches of Chinese smart cities?
  • What methods and tools can be implemented in cities?
  • What are promising business models for private-public partnerships?
  • How can diverse stakeholders be effectively integrated?
  • How can the digital shadow of a city be systematically extended?

Smart Cities brings together the authors' collective experience in practice-based political, administrative, and economic projects to provide a clear framework to guide and engage key stakeholders in the realisation of smart cities.

They conclude by emphasising that ultimately a smart city must be designed to bring positive change to its people and to the environment. ‘The more human a smart city is, the more it will become a desirable place to live. By humans, for humans’.

About the authors
Oliver Gassmann is Professor of Technology and Innovation Management at the University of St. Gallen and Chairman of the Institute of Technology Management. His research focuses on success factors for innovations.

Jonas Böhm is a PhD Student and Research Associate at the Institute of Technology Management and assists national and international smart city projects as a coach and researcher.

Maximilian Palmié is Assistant Professor of Energy and Innovation Management at the University of St. Gallen, where he heads the Energy Innovation Lab. This lab focuses on the management of business model innovations and new technologies in the energy industry.


  • Chapter 1: The Future of Cities 
  • Chapter 2: Smart Cities
  • Chapter 3: Smart City Lighthouse Projects 
  • Chapter 4: Guidelines for Smart City Transformation 
  • Chapter 5: Outlook 
  • Chapter 6: Tools for the Transformation into a Smart City

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