If each city’s Smart journey is unique, how can Smart City Standards help?

I’m often asked how smart city standards can be relevant to the complex reality of modern cities. It’s a legitimate question and one I have asked myself many times. From experience, I know that no two cities are alike and their challenges differ in content, context and scale.

Having been involved in their drafting I have first hand experience that such standards can support cities as they embark upon their own, specific Smart City journey. For example, BSI PAS 181, the “Smart City Framework”, offers a structured, integrated approach by breaking the journey into a set of components so that cities can find their own start points and areas of focus; complexity simplified through bite-sized chunks! The standards development process itself is engaging and informative, drawing expertise from the worlds of academia, business and, most importantly, cities themselves. The resultant standards are relevant, accessible and practical as a result of this wide engagement.

Importantly, PAS 181 provides the context for and linkages to other smart city related standards. For example, if data is your “bag” then PAS 182, the “Smart City Data Concept Model” and, the recently launched PAS 183, “A Decision Framework for Data Sharing” describe new ways of considering and sharing data. If you develop projects, run services or are involved in procurement then PAS 184 (also new to the Smart City Standards cohort) offers checklists and guides to help you develop smarter, city scale solutions. The Smart City Overview document, PD 8100, even includes a simple maturity matrix to enable cities to track their Smart City progress.

As already mentioned, Peterborough has been actively involved in developing and utilising the standards. For example, our Future Peterborough Framework uses the PAS181 approach as it’s foundation and PAS183 is helping officers drive wider engagement in the importance and value of data as well as how Peterborough can safely and securely capture, use and share it.

I certainly recommend that you check them out and see which components work for you. Oh, and don’t let the term “city” put you off! The standards are equally relevant to all major urban areas and even small urban and rural communities.  Take it from me, the Smart City suite of standards is well worth a look.

For more information about the standards please visit:

Trevor Gibson,

Smart City Leadership & Development Manager