Why València is a leader in smart city KPIs

ITU

Every day our city faces a diverse range of complex challenges, some internal in nature and some exogenous, such as those brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that have highlighted the urgent need to be adequately prepared to mitigate the impacts of pandemics and other future threats.

The transformation of València as a safe and sustainable coexistence space, and attractive and socially equitable economic hub, is an enormously complex task that requires the collaboration of a large number of actors. Citizens, companies, associations and institutions are all key actors in this “Smart Sustainable City” model that seeks, from a global perspective, to improve efficiency, people’s lives, our environment, social inclusion, sustainability, and resilience to external threats.

In 2015, this process of strategic reflection led us to spearhead the development of the standard UNE 178201 “Smart Cities: Definition, Attributes, and Requirements” published in 2016 by the Spanish Standardization and Certification Association (AENOR). UNE 178201 was developed to define the attributes that a city should have and what requirements it should meet to be considered a smart city. We were able to build on this experience in our contribution to the development of the ITU standard Y.4200 “Requirements for the interoperability of smart city platforms”.

It would be too lengthy to reflect here on all our transformation projects and their results, but the illustration below broadly summarizes our evolution as a Smart Sustainable City, as well as our next challenges in the short-to-medium term.

Illustration of Valencia's smart city journey.

For several years we have been collaborating closely with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), in the definition of criteria and self-assessment mechanisms that use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to quantify ICTs’ contribution to the achievement of smarter, more sustainable cities. This work has established a reference framework to help cities achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The KPIs providing this reference framework – focused on measuring a city’s intelligence and sustainability – have been developed in partnership by ITU, UNECE and 15 more UN partners driving the United for Smart Sustainable Cities Initiative (U4SSC). These KPIs serve as a reference framework for cities to measure their own efficiency and sustainability as well as a benchmark to compare themselves with other cities around the world.

Thanks to the collaboration of practically all València’s municipal departments and the coordination of our Smart City Office, we have collected all data possible and received the U4SSC Verification that this data was collected in accordance with the U4SSC Collection Methodology. With this verification, València has solidified its position as one of the first cities in Europe, and the world, to measure its progress towards the SDGs in a standardized way.

The results of this process, which covers 22 dimensions and 91 KPIs, are openly available on the U4SSC website and València’s Smart City Office municipal website. These KPIs establish a reference framework that, together with other indicators, will allow us to monitor and evaluate our progress towards the SDGs and objectively compare our development with other nearby cities.

I would like to thank all the staff of the València City Council and municipal departments for their commitment to an objective so important to our city. I would also like to thank the ITU/U4SSC team and managers for their invaluable collaboration and support through all phases of this process.

In this environment of continuous change, we continue tackling significant challenges. We continue to evolve our smart city strategy, equip our city platform with new advanced functionalities, evaluate the impact of new paradigms such as Artificial Intelligence, improve our resilience to threats, and advance the digital transformation of our City Council. Only through collaboration and shared commitment will we be able to ensure that València grows stronger as a space for safe coexistence, and as an attractive economic and social hub, that delivers more and better services to its citizens and improves our sustainability in line with the SDGs.

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