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For Smarter City Services, Start with Smart Planning

April 26, 2018 By Bob Benstead

If your city is looking to streamline service delivery, meet the expectations of a diverse, increasingly tech-savvy group of stakeholders, and maximize value from a full range of physical and human assets, smart planning might be the tool you’re looking for to bring it all together.

And if you want to make your city competitive and a highly desirable place to live, smart planning fits the bill. The basic toolbox is still very much a work in progress, with multiple definitions and scopes arising from front-line experience in different settings.

But already, the concept is proving its value where it matters most: in the lives and satisfaction of local citizens, businesses, and other communities of interest.

Depending on where it’s practiced, smart planning can take in anything from land use planning to smart, ultimately net-zero building design.

It brings together all the major outcomes that constituents need and expect: municipal services they can count on; program delivery that works; comfortable, affordable housing in safe, walkable neighborhoods.

It builds up a city’s economic resilience while delivering a better quality of life for its citizens, using the best available data and technology to coordinate and optimize every area of activity in a modern municipality’s portfolio of responsibilities.

And it boosts the effectiveness of local government, creating an environment that meets the high standard citizens and businesses expect from online e-commerce.

It all comes together around five key elements that determine the success or failure of a smart planning initiative:

  1. A strong guiding vision, from the top of the organization and from one or more front-line program champions;
  2. A determined plan for breaking down silos between departments and functions, allowing every program and department to bring its own knowledge, strengths, and experience to the table;
  3. A planning philosophy that keeps citizens, stakeholders, and staff at the center of every decision, product, and service;
  4. Up-front strategic investment to get the ball rolling and deliver the efficiency rewards and cost savings that await;
  5. Enough quick wins to buy time and build patience for longer-term, more transformative results.

Click here to learn more about the first steps to a successful smart planning initiative.

Bob Benstead is VP of business development – public sector, Infor.
  • Federal Government
  • State and Local Government
  • North America
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