The Potential and Progress of Networked Smart Cities

Cities are amazing. Whether its Beijing or New York, Delhi or Singapore, Sao Paulo or Paris, these metropolises of millions bring together people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives and throw them together in a sea of humanity. In the best of those cities, there is incredible smarts and ingenuity in providing sustainable infrastructure, economic opportunity and improved quality of life for citizens.

But much of the potential of “Smart Cities” is still untapped. With more than half the world’s population living in cities today – and that number only set to grow – there is an incredible opportunity to source and scale innovation within and across global cities to ensure our urban centers continue to provide a vibrant, equitable, sustainable and livable environment for all residents.

Given this immense opportunity and the challenges that go along with it, our Social Impact team took a deep look at the Networked Smart Cities movement to see what role different sectors can and should play to advance this work and communicate progress. This smart cities report is the first in a series of investigations the key macro trends that are shaping the future of social impact work.

Estimates indicate the global market potential for smart cities – infrastructure development, technology integration, and e-government, energy and security services – could reach $3.3 trillion by 2025. Much of that market potential will be realized by collaborative investments in solutions and innovations that address inclusivity, sustainability and resiliency. This then requires greater capacity to identify the right partnerships, communicate complex ideas to and among stakeholders, and engage the larger citizenry in campaigns that galvanize support and action at all levels – from local communities to networked city ecosystems that connect people across geography and technology.


We explore these themes in our new report Networked Smart Cities. We invite you to take a look and let us know what you think. And stay tuned for additional reports with insights on how key trends – from improved transparency to inclusive economies – are transforming how people, organizations and systems connect to drive positive change.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Let's connect! Sign up for Powell Tate Insights for monthly fresh takes on disruptions, innovations and impact in public affairs.