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Location Trends Editor's Picks Trends

2019 Location Trends #1: From “smart” to “ideal” cities

To create the ideal city, it is essential for cities to identify and leverage their core competitive advantages and assets.

They have to develop detailed long-term execution plans and strategies, carefully taking into consideration citizens, local characteristics, and specific industries.

Recent years have witnessed the birth of so-called “smart cities” where, through extensive digitalization and connection, governments and businesses collect data in a bid to make cities more efficient and optimize their services. The goal is to make urban environments cleaner, greener, safer, more mobile, and ultimately smarter and better places to live.

The wealth of city data is used to gain insight and create new intelligent transport solutions. HERE, like many others, uses rich traffic data to analyze urban mobility patterns. Marketplaces, such as OneTransport, open up siloed transport data to the private and public sector alike.

BerlinThe HERE Urban Mobility Index provides a comprehensive overview of the mobility performance and smartness of major global cities, highlighting those that are ahead of the trend in meeting citizen mobility needs. © HERE Urban Mobility Index

Cities are now entering the next stage of this process, which we term ideating cities. Beyond technological and efficiency capabilities, smart city technologies have the potential to greatly improve quality of life for city inhabitants.

shutterstock_242842918-4Copenhagen is a smart city committed to livability and sustainability. The biggest aim of the city’s “CPH 2025 Climate Plan” is to become the world’s first carbon neutral capital by 2025.

Cities are at a unique turning point in their development. Citizens can now tangibly create their future cities and interact with them easier than ever before. Smart city leaders, such as Helsinki, are already taking steps in this direction, by using co-creation techniques to develop intelligent mobility solutions that better take into consideration citizen desires.

Future_Transport_2056_Strategy_1Transport for New South Wales used a co-design process to engage with everyone from transport staff and customers, to government agencies and industry supplies, to deliver a future transport system that meets all stakeholder needs. © Transport for NSW.

Brands have the power to influence the values that are infused in these ideal cities. Equality in services for the rich and poor, environmental sustainability, privacy and support to municipalities may all be enhanced.

Hong_Kong_TransportWhen waiting to cross the road at pedestrian crossings in Hong Kong, the elderly can lengthen the green light duration, simply by tapping the signal pole with their city transport card. © Hong Kong Transport Department


The growth of idealized smart cities will depend heavily on open collaboration between multiple stakeholders. But only constant dialogue with citizens will allow these cities to truly flourish. Visions for future cities must be translated into action today, with collective execution plans and city frameworks needed to bring such visions to life. Developing tools that help define and create those frameworks will require both openness and shared efforts between the public and private sector.

What’s next?

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing similar break-downs of each of the location trends. If you want to download the full report, get in touch with us.

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