Capgemini Research Institute

Street Smart

Putting the citizen at the center of smart city initiatives

Trust, innovation, and data are the keys to the smart city of tomorrow

People around the world are unhappy with the city life and the many social, environmental, and infrastructure challenges it brings. Smart cities offer solutions to many of these challenges. But what, exactly, do citizens hope for and want from a smart city? And what stands in the way? Finally, what can cities do to accelerate implementation and keep their citizens from leaving? We wanted to find out.

In the latest report from the Capgemini Research Institute – Street smart: Putting the citizen at the center of smart city initiatives – we surveyed 10,000 citizens across 10 countries in April 2020, looking at the challenges they face and their willingness to use smart city initiatives. We also spoke with 300 city officials about their views on smart city initiatives and the challenges of implementation, interviewing a number of senior city officials to get their perspectives on smart city implementation. We found that:

  • The city life isn’t easy – In fact, one in three city dwellers wants to leave their city due challenges they face living there.
  • Smart city initiatives benefit cities and attract citizens – close to 60% of citizens believe smart cities equal sustainability and better services.
  • Smart city programs should focus on key use cases – especially when it comes to utilities, transport and mobility, citizens are eager to use them and willing to pay more for them.
  • Progress is slow – a mere 22% of city officials have just begun implementing a handful of initiatives.

To set the ball rolling with smart city initiatives, city officials and citizens should work with startups, academic institutes, and venture capital funds with a focus on trust, innovation, and data as the key drivers. Such collaboration should strive to create a compelling smart city vision based on sustainability and resilience. It should turn city officials into entrepreneurs while ensuring that data protection and trust are built into how citizen data is gathered and used. Finally, a culture of innovation and collaboration with citizens and external entities will also be key.

Subscribe to receive an advance copy of new reports from the Capgemini Research Institute

Street smart infographi...

File size: 394.05 KB File type: PDF


File size: 4.36 MB File type: PDF

French Version_Street_S...

File size: 6.14 MB File type: PDF

Sound Bites

The UNECE–ITU Smart Sustainable Cities Indicators

A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social, cultural, and environmental aspects.

Lynn Blake, VP, Mobility, Groupe PSA

We’re collecting a lot of data after 18 months in market and we are currently in our infancy as it relates to insights. Our challenge right now is how do we take that data and harness it to provide better and more personalized service to our customers.

Martin Gull, CDO, City of Helsinborg

We can’t develop new facilities or infrastructure that are not built with their sustainability in mind from the start. That’s going to be a prerequisite for anything we do for the future.

Key Takeaways


of citizens who have used smart city initiatives say they are happier with their quality of life in terms of health factors, such as air quality


of citizens want to live in smart cities because they believe that the city will be more sustainable


of citizens want to live in smart cities because they believe that the quality of urban services will improve

About the Capgemini Research Institute

Capgemini Research Institute

Capgemini’s #1 ranked in-house think tank on all things digital


Pierre-Adrien Hanania

Expert in AI and Digital Transformation

James Robey

James is the Global Head of Corporate Sustainability at Capgemini. He manages sustainability risks and drives our program to reduce environmental impacts in our most material areas.

Moez Draief

Expert in Machine Learning, Mathematical Modeling and Statistics

Hans Teuben

He strives to deliver strong results for our clients in the public sector by building on strong analytical and conceptual skills, dedication and commitment.

Mehdi Essaidi

Expert in Automotive Connect, Business Model Transformation, Digital Transformation, Mobility