Smart cities are forward-looking. They preserve heritage, but also think and act for tomorrow and the ‘after-tomorrow’. Smart cities have visions of a desirable future urban habitat and implement them in long-term, comprehensive and integrated planning processes.

Smart cities build themselves up with a distinct profile, which encapsulates the future vision. The brand fosters citizens’ identification with their urban habitat, thereby assisting social integration.

Smart cities are wired. They make extensive use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and try and test them so as to provide a better environment for all citizens. They open information sources for all and create optimal conditions for new jobs, products and services. They achieve close collaboration with business, universities, research institutes and civil society groups. Cities are smart if their administration is transparent and allows citizens’ participation at all times and in all stages of urban development.

Smart cities do not stand-alone. They are active in regional and international networks of urban exchange and cooperation, from which they draw expertise and ideas. Smart cities learn from each other on a global scale.