Smart Citizens are the foundations of Smart Cities

Smart City - Kleptika Article

Citizens are the fuel and the foundation of Smart Cities.

Beyond technology and infrastructures, human capital is the key to designing, building and making future cities live. Dubai is a key example of such Citizen Centric approach.

Moving people to urban centers has many benefits, such as making innovation easier by sharing more ideas, developing economy and productivity by reducing transports’ times, and making a better utilization of energy and land.

But it also generates new challenges as the ratio of urban citizens versus rural ones will double in one century: producing enough energy without impacting the environment, hosting high population densities while keeping a safe and clean ecosystem, offering a high level of quality life to empowering happy, innovative and community-engaged citizens.

Evolution of % of population living in cities

Smart City 2- Kleptika Article

Smart City, a nest for Smart Citizens.

A Smart City connects human capital, social capital and ICT infrastructures to address public issues, achieve sustainable development and increase the quality of life of its citizens.


In other words, the concept is based on a massive usage of data and technology to optimize resource, energy and waste consumption, to ensure a high quality of living to engaged citizens.

Components of Smart Cities

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Indeed, looking at the success criteria of a Smart City sustainable implementation, it is evident that citizens’ place is on top of the other enablers; as in the customer strategy scheme, e.g. people, processes, and technology:

  1. Engaged, informed and connected citizens,

  2. Communicative and efficient citizen centric governance, and

  3. Comprehensive and consistent deployment of all components of ICT, including Internet Of Things (IOT)


 How to make a Smart City sustainable? 

Making a Smart City sustainable is an ongoing 4 steps incremental approach, centered on citizens’ behavior and environmental figures:

  • COLLECT: gather data in real-time from smart devices, sensors, and connected objects, via Internet Of Things and ICT platform.

  • COMMUNICATE: make the data available for all decision centers such as automated systems, government institutions, telecom providers, infrastructure managers, and citizens, ensuring interoperability, integrity, scalability and privacy of these data.

  • ANALYSE: compute the data to build actionable results.

  • ACT: transform actionable results in social initiatives, environmental improvements, behavioral influences, and infrastructure optimizations.

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The four steps incremental approach of a sustainable Smart City


Example of a Citizen-centric project: Dubai

Dubai has developed a unique approach to becoming the first truly global smart city, based on three major themes that are communication, integration, and cooperation.

Dubai is one of the most equipped city regarding smartphones, with 3 out of 4 mobile consumers using one. Dubai has an average annual population growth rate of more than 6%, with around 2.5 million citizens and 10+ million tourists a year.

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, clearly understood how this mobility platform could help the development of a citizen-centric city: “Our goal is for the entire city’s services and facilities to be available on smartphones. We want to provide a better quality of life for all.”

To realize the social, environmental and economic goals of Dubai Plan 2021, Dubai has launched its smart city strategy, aiming to transform itself into the smartest mega city in the world, over the next few years, where citizens play the greatest roles.

(Source: Dubai Plan 2021 website)


Smart City is not only a state-of-the-art fully connected technology; it is an ecosystem built by and for civic, motivated and creative citizens. It provides excellent living spaces, open areas, green places, efficient sewage and waste management systems, integrated transportation grids and smart energies.

Citizens are the city experts, highly motivated in creating a clean and sustainable ecosystem that they will transfer as a legacy to the future generations.

Thierry Petrens – Managing Partner at Kleptika