2019 IAP Conference and General Assembly

Smart Cities: digital solutions for a more livable future

Dr. Jeongmin Seong, Senior Fellow, McKinsey Global Institute (Presentation)

After a decade of experimentation, smart cities are entering a new phase. Although they are only one part of the full tool kit for making a city great, AI and digitally enabled solutions are the most powerful and cost-effective additions to that tool kit in many years. Smart cities add digital intelligence to existing urban systems, making it possible to do more with less. Connected applications put real-time, transparent information into the hands of users to help them make better choices. These tools can save lives, prevent crime, and reduce the disease burden. They can save time, reduce waste, and even help boost social connectedness. When cities function more efficiently, they also become more productive places to do business. MGI assessed found that these tools could reduce fatalities by 8-10 percent, accelerate emergency response times by 20-35 percent, shave the average commute by 15-20 percent, lower the disease burden by 8-15 percent, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10-15 percent, among other positive outcomes. The technologies analyzed in this report can help cities make moderate or significant progress toward 70 percent of the Sustainable Development  Goals. Yet becoming a smart city is less effective as an economic development strategy for job creation. Becoming a smart city is not a goal but a means to an end. Smart cities need to focus on improving outcomes for residents and enlisting their active participation in shaping the places they call home.