Cities became a major topic of discussion this year as U.S. municipalities from Boston to Los Angeles waited for Amazon to select the location for its second headquarters. But Amazon wasn’t the only enterprise looking for a new home. More than one-third of respondents in our recent study on workspaces said they’d consider relocating to enhance their workplace in the next five years, and an even greater percentage — 43% — said they’d seek an area with a compelling smart city vision.
No longer is it enough to just be a thriving metropolis. Cities are now expected to also serve as digital innovation hubs, providing access to talent and ideas. To do that, they need to be “smart,” and not just “smart for smart’s sake” — they need to embody characteristics that ultimately offer tangible benefits to the businesses they host, both at a foundational and technological level. For many cities, this requires a fresh way of thinking that draws on the latest technology and capitalizes on data analytics, both to attract businesses and to foster growth and prosperity.