A city can call itself a 'smart city' as it evolves to meet the needs of citizens, businesses, institutions and manages its resources in a better way, based on a better use of information and communications technology.
In 2014, the specialist group of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) on smart and sustainable cities gave a definition of the smart city by leaning on an analysis of a hundred definitions. Its definition is as follows:
A smart and sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communications technologies and other means to improve living standards, efficiency of urban management and urban services and competitiveness whilst meeting the needs of current and future generations in the sectors of the economy, society and the environment.
A smart city therefore feeds on information so as to be able to better manage itself (Do better with less) and provide a higher quality of life whilst using as few resources as possible.
A smart city project is aimed at several different publics:
- the inhabitants or citizens
- users of the city
- the municipal administration, a stakeholder in the project
- companies (either because they are users of the city or as partners) including ICT companies
"Smart city" projects generally involve areas such as mobility, energy, governance and e-administration, information, quality of life, safety and connectivity.
In the case of the city of Brussels, it can play a pilot role within a metropolis region.