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Smart City and Smart Citizens: New Business and Economic Models of Urban Living

How can cities analyse and understand data generated by citizens and firms to ensure more optimal fulfillment of citizens’ wants and needs?

The Smart City and Smart Citizens project will develop a new theory of business and economic models within ‘smart cities’ with particular application to digital platforms and multi-sided markets. It will also seek optimal business models for the development of ‘smart cities’ that strikes a balance between public good for the citizens and economic benefit for the private sector.

Emphasis will be placed on the role of ‘smart’ and empowered citizens. The main idea is that instead of the backward induction mechanism of predicting peoples’ choices about various existing goods and services, the smart city system will aim to adopt a forward-looking approach and by using linked and integrated information generated by households on a daily basis, anticipate what types of goods and services people would want in the future.

The proposed research will also develop ways in which the newly discovered theory can be applied in practice, and investigate issues around the role of the regulator to make policy recommendations, using the City of Birmingham as an example.

The Smart City and Smart Citizens project is a result of discussions between BCC and WMG, University of Warwick, which identified that research into ‘smart cities’ and urban living would be valuable to BCC in furthering its ‘SmartCity Vision’ agenda.

Expected Output

An executive briefing will be produced from the project's findings, and it is hoped that this will eventually help identify new business models for ‘smart cities’ in general and for the City of Birmingham in particular.

Research Team

Professor Irene Ng (Principal Investigator)
Dr Ganna Pogrebna (Co-Investigator)
Dr Susan Wakenshaw (Research Fellow)

Project Partner

Birmingham City Council


British Academy &
Leverhulme Trust

Project Timeline

Sept 2014-Aug 2015