Cities are powerful engines of economic growth, fuelled by intensive interpersonal communication and high concentrations of specialized skills. Urbanization’s advantages are however mirrored by significant sustainability challenges, with cities today accounting for over 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 60-80 per cent of global energy consumption.
Given that an estimated 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, sustainable urbanization has become a key policy point to administrations across the world. Here ICTs have a crucial role to play by increasing environmental efficiency across industry sectors and enabling such innovations as intelligent transport systems (ITS) and "smart" water, energy and waste management.
The FG-SSC acts as an open platform for smart-city stakeholders – such as municipalities; academic and research institutes; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and ICT organizations, industry forums and consortia – to exchange knowledge in the interests of identifying the standardized frameworks needed to support the integration of ICT services in smart cities.
At its fifth meeting in June 2014, the FG-SSC agreed on the definition of Smart Sustainable City which reads as follows:
“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 and environmental aspects”.