Smart cities are made up of many different components. Data, technology, digital expertise, and innovative solutions all work together to produce services and an ecosystem that improve the lives of individuals. But, ultimately, cities are social constructions and so the communities living in them have the power to shape the ecosystem. As social constructs do these communities adapt in their own ways, too? Do they even have the power to make or break the development of a smart city?
For such communities there have been four core themes identified which can shape the outcome of the smartness of a city. The first is knowledge workforce: the ability that a community has to develop and perfect local digital expertise. Importantly, studies have shown that the best economic results of this occur when expertise is present at all levels of employment, and across all sectors. This means that data integration and knowledge can be merged more easily, while having local and easily available resources at hand.
Secondly, digital inclusion has been shown to have significant effect on the development of smart cities. Communities that wish to keep up with the latest trends have systems in place that encourage local policy making on a small scale, as well as a much larger scale. After all, a community is only as strong as its weakest members. By including all individuals as equals within a community creates stronger social bonds and a better network of support and resources that businesses and services may rely upon.
Innovation has become a vital aspect to smart city, and subsequently, smart community growth. New businesses have been identified as one of the biggest shaping forces of these areas as almost all of the job growth in modern economies is generated by businesses. Innovation that focuses on the local and regional open data, as well as smart data, can improve the quality of services. When this is combined with governmental practices and policy it can further improve the creation of conditions that spark further innovation.
Finally, the theme of marketing is required. Although this may seem not entirely linked to smart data and communities it nonetheless has been shown to effect smart cities. Just as businesses need to project their brands to help to form their reputations, so do smart communities and smart cities. For example, most people living or working in Europe would instantly recognise the iAmsterdam brand and the smart city status. Successful smart communities project an image of prosperity and satisfaction with their city, which in turn encourages the local community, entises more start-up businesses, and brings more resources to the area.