New ways to deal with the complexity and dynamics of change in our cities

On-going urbanisation makes cities focal points for economies and societies. As its share of resource consumption and emissions grows, economies become knowledge intensive. City life accelerates, its complexity grows exponentially along with various instabilities, challenges, uncertainties and risks. Urban areas become more like complex biological organisms with all their internal relations and interactions between multifold processes. Key players such as cities’ inhabitants, organisations, industries, regions and governments have different political and economic interests, views on priorities, events and causes. All these results in difficulty understanding holistic knowledge of city life.

In addition, local urban environments face increasing impacts of global issues like climate change, emergency events and disasters, such as storms, hot and cold weather, and an abnormal amount of rainfall or snow, drought and floods. All of these lead to resource scarcity and issues with biological diversity, interruptions of regular life processes and losses of lives, considerable extra costs, recovery time and delays in achieving planned objectives. Hopes that such impacts may decrease in the long run melt away with every passing year. Integrated vision of city life with its ecosystem services, capacity for quick and easy detail and adding necessary resource optimisation models for decision making and actions when necessary, become increasingly important to meet growing challenges. These issues had been explicitly addressed by the Association for Sustainable Innovative Development in Economics, Environment and Society (ASIDEES ), NGO, Austria by developing a Knowledge Management Framework for Smart Governance “Smart City Monitor” (

It integrates knowledge about ongoing processes based on real data in real time, makes understanding of trends, policy roadmaps and response options easy. At the same time, it assists city stakeholders in the implementation of concepts of sustainability, low carbon, low resource consumption and resilience, making them transparent and measurable.

Some attempts to solve the issue have already been done. For example, ISO standard 37120:2014 aims to provide some methodology and establish a common ground for cities around the world while being unique and different.

Each city is a unique composition of its citizens’ life patterns, culture, architecture, geo-location, industries, energy consumption, city water management, wastewater and sewage treatment, economics, environment and transportation. Where large numbers of people live, move, work, learn and have fun, which is all generating a diverse flow of events. Which in turn influences questions like:

– What is the current state of our city or particular district or that public service now?

– What’s happens to water consumption and quality in that location or street?

– What do our local businesses offer now (or tomorrow, etc), where and which service quality can be expected (free places, waiting time, etc) under quality requirements to actual information about operations and status’s set by the city council?

– What information is available in other categories, e.g. air quality, environment, carbon, waste collection and processing, etc presented on city maps updated each hour?

– Does our city achieve planning targets?

With real-time information about a large number of diverse ongoing processes and high processing power Smart City Monitor helps to answer such questions and provides practical and easily accessible answers to all stakeholders in simple, easy and quick mode. Compared to static content of major city web services this knowledge management platform allows the collection of real-time data from all necessary city information sources, processing it accordingly to city models of quality of life, planning and growths, ecological considerations. Presenting resulting information along with necessary details. It includes status and quantitative results, such as air quality, noise and crime levels, transportation density, energy consumption, water management, state of the natural capital, the situation with the health system even what innovation approaches were undertaken by the city council.

Smart City model can be initially based on the latest international and national standards like ISO 37120:2014. It is open for further advancement by adding unique city content and functions, optimising overall city performance, use of resources as well as citizen’s lives and local business. The outcomes of the comprehensive information-rich model at any necessary level e.g. city, district, concrete street and geo-location help in identifying policy roadmaps to facilitate a transition to local urban areas, characterised by low carbon emissions, low resource consumption and robust economic growth. Smart City Monitor emphasises technologically oriented concept’s and provides a unified view of the development of urban areas. This directly helps to minimise the use of energy and natural resources, measured in short time periods, providing job and new business opportunities, enrich the city’s life and increase its quality.

The knowledge management framework integrates the innovative methodology and various advanced IT components and data standards for cities (e.g. IFCs, CityGML, LandXML), based on common and widely available technologies such as open source software, Linux server clusters, mobile devices, Wi-Fi and cable communications, as well as remote sensors based on Internet of Things (IoT) or Machineto- Machine (M2M) devices. In addition, its open system architecture allows integration with existing information sources and already running city systems, resulting in a significant decrease of implementation and maintenance costs. The robust and cost-effective city system empowers all stakeholders to enrich the quality of life, its content, monitor, analyse, benchmark, report, verify changes, risks in urban areas and maintains its ecosystems providing new commercial, social, spatial, physical and digital dimensions.

Implementation of the innovative solution through real-life experience makes possible influencing EU policies that have an impact on the local area, open and effective in providing access to local services, resources and business opportunities for citizens and companies. The challenges facing the cities require new approaches and proactive solutions. In return, it leads to raising a city’s profile as smart, attracting more investments and business service providers.

Technology and innovative solutions are only part of the bigger picture. Cities are about people and their expectations, experiences and already accumulated knowledge. In this regard, ASIDEES aims to provide the best solutions for viable future cities and their successful smart governance.


Ms. Elena Petrova, MSc.

Managing Director

ASIDEES, Vienna, Austria

Tel: +43 (699)1947 3509


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