The complexity and the pace of change, combined with the need for integrated and systemic solutions, are presenting a major challenge to local authorities who, traditionally, have developed responses in a “siloed” fashion. This requires organizational change as well as deploying innovative technology and South Poland Cleantech Cluster is seeking to provide support to cities, developing more integrated approaches, by providing a platform for regions businesses to develop the solutions they require.

The concept of a Smart City goes way beyond the transactional relationships between citizen and service provider. It is essentially enabling and encouraging the citizen to become a more active and participative member of the community, for example, providing feedback on the quality of services or the state of roads and the built environment, adopting a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle, volunteering for social activities or supporting minority groups. Furthermore, citizens need employment and “Smart Cities” are often attractive locations to live, work and visit.

But the concept is not static: there is no absolute definition of a smart city, no end point, but rather a process, or series of steps, by which cities become more “liveable” and resilient and, hence, able to respond quicker to new challenges. Thus, a Smart City should enable every citizen to engage with all the services on offer, public as well as private, in a way best suited to his or her needs. It brings together hard infrastructure, social capital including local skills and community institutions, and (digital) technologies to fuel sustainable economic development and provide an attractive environment for all.