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Smart Cities come in many shapes and sizes. They range from existing cities with added smart features to cities built from scratch with custom-made solutions to known problems.

Why is this research important?

The Smart City gives humanity our best chance to survive and prosper. And from cities with centralised top-down management, to those with localised, citizen-led bottom-up approaches.

A key factor driving the case for Smart Cities is urbanisation. The percentage of people living in cities is increasing as a proportion of a growing total global population.

Graph showing projected growth in global city populations from 1985 to 2045, which forecasts that around 65% of the world's population will live in cities by 2045. Source united nations department of economic and social affairs. Full data as follows, world population by urban residents in percentages presented as a line graph: 1985: 41%, 1995: 45%, 2005: 49%, 2015: 54%, 2025: 58%, 2035: 62%, 2045: 65%. World population by number of urban residents in billions (bn) presented as a bar chart, 1985: 2bn, 1995: 2.6bn, 2005: 3.2bn, 2015: 4.0bn, 2025: 4.7bn, 2035: 5.4bn, 2045: 6.0bn Projected growth in global city populations. Around 65% of the world's population will live in cities by 2045.

Why are cities so important?

Cities are recognised as economic growth engines that generate an estimated four-fifths of global gross domestic product (GDP). They also outperform their country’s rate of growth. Smart Cities are all about improving productivity and GDP.

What is the role of professional accountants in Smart Cities?

So how can professional accountants support organisation in a way that creates a positive impact?

  • by providing financial management for an increasing and varied pool of smart cities
  • getting value for money for technology
  • driving greater fiscal responsibility for cities
  • breaking down silos in the operating model.

About Narayanan Vaidyanathan, lead author, ACCA