Skip to main content

Smarter Cities

Safe neighborhoods. Quality schools.
Affordable housing. Traffic that flows.
It's all possible.

Tab navigation

Explore TheSmarterCity

Explore TheSmarterCity
Not a vision of tomorrow, but a vision of today. A collection of smart ideas from all over the world, all in one place. Take a tour of TheSmarterCity.

Sustainable Cities

India needs sustainable cities

Every minute during the next 20 years, 30 Indians will leave rural India for urban areas. At this rate, India will need some 500 new cities in the next two decades. If there were ever a time to focus on developing solutions for sustainable cities, that time is now.

As population centers grow, they are placing greater demands on the city infrastructures that deliver vital services such as transportation, healthcare, education and public safety. Adding to the strain are ever-changing public demands for better education, greener programs, accessible government, affordable housing and more options for senior citizens.

Replacing the actual city infrastructures is often unrealistic in terms of cost and time. However, with recent advances in technology, we can infuse our existing infrastructures with new intelligence. By this, we mean digitizing and connecting our systems, so they can sense, analyze and integrate data, and respond intelligently to the needs of their jurisdictions. In short, we can revitalize them so they can become smarter and more efficient. In the process, cities can grow and sustain quality of life for their inhabitants.


Our planet is getting smarter by the city: Dubuque, Bordeaux, Taipei and more
Cities are getting smarter about education, safety, water and transportation.


Making cities more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent isn't only about overcoming the challenges cities face. It is about recognizing that many of the challenges we face in making a smarter planet are centered on creating sustainable cities.

Cities symbolize and centralize so many aspects of what will make for a smarter planet: smarter education, smarter healthcare, smarter water and energy use, smarter public safety, smarter transportation, and smarter government ... to name but a few.

A new report from the IBM Institute for Business Value, "A Vision of Smarter Cities," makes the case that cities must use new technologies to transform their systems to optimize the use of finite resources. As sustainability for cities and the planet becomes ever more important, the question isn't whether cities will do this; the question is: Which ones are doing it first? And who will do it best?

The 19th century was a century of empires, the 20th century was a century of nation states. The 21st century will be a century of cities -- Wellington E. Webb. Former mayor of Denver, Colorado.


This video shows how cities are getting smarter--using instumented, interconnected and intelligent systems to grow more sustainably. Smarter cities are sustainable cities.

Smart ideas worldwide

More people live in the world's cities now than live outside them. No wonder cities are getting smarter.


Innovative cities


Smarter transportation
Some cities start by transforming their transportation systems. Stockholm, Dublin, Singapore and Brisbane are working with IBM to develop smart systems ranging from predictive tools to smart cards to congestion charging in order to reduce traffic and pollution.

Smarter policing and emergency response
New York, Syracuse (PDF), Santa Barbara and St. Louis are using data analytics, wireless and video surveillance capabilities to strengthen crime fighting and the coordination of emergency response units.

By 2050, 70 percent of people will be living in cities. There will be at least 27 'megacities' of 10 million people, compared to 19 today.
Cities are perfect for promoting change and renewable energies. Cities can serve as innovation platforms, creating clusters of business around green energy - Claude Turmes, Member of the European Parlament, Reuters, February 10, 2009

Smarter power and water management
IBM is working with local government agencies, farmers and ranchers in the Paraguay-Paraná River basin, where São Paulo is located, to understand the factors that can help to safeguard the quality and availability of the water system.

Malta is building a smart grid that links the power and water systems, and will detect leakages, allow for variable pricing and provide more control to consumers. Ultimately, it will enable this island country to replace fossil fuels with sustainable energy sources.

Smarter governance
In New Mexico, Albuquerque (PDF, 142KB), is using a business intelligence solution to automate data sharing among its 7,000 employees in more than 20 departments, so every employee gets a single version of the truth. It has realized cost savings of almost 2,000%.

Three local UK councils have adopted a new IBM business model that could change the way local government is managed. Through Southwest One (PDF), IBM will manage the IT infrastructure, procurement, customer service and workforce development functions, allowing agencies to focus on delivering critical services to citizens. The model can expand to include up to 30 public sector agencies.

Video not available.