The city of the 21st century aims to be much more than a collection of bricks and mortar laid out on a grid, but how do you make a city a smart city? One approach is to take a leaf out of the books of modern digital behemoths like Facebook and view the city as a platform. To this end, the Communications Industry Association TM Forum today unveiled its City as a Platform Manifesto along with the endorsement of more than 40 major cities and government and industry organizations worldwide.

Announced at the 2017 Smart City InFocus event in Yinchuan, China, the manifesto outlines 11 fundamental principles for deploying city platforms and is designed to accelerate the development of smart cities and act as guidelines for those setting public policy.

The manifesto's inaugural signatories include: all the major smart cities such as Atlanta, Belfast, Chicago, Dublin, Las Vegas, Leeds, Limerick, Liverpool, Medellin, Miami, Milton Keynes, Tampere, Utrecht, Wellington and Yinchuan; major Communication Service Providers (CSPs) such as Orange, Tele2 and NEC; and associations and institutions such as the European Commission, CABA, FIWARE Foundation, Fraunhofer, Future Cities Catapult, Leading Cities and the OASC. Organizations and cities are continuing to sign the manifesto to add their support for the initiative, and the manifesto can be found and signed online.

The 11 principles outlined in the manifesto are:

  1. City platforms must enable services that improve the quality of life in cities; benefitting residents, the environment, and helping to bridge the digital divide
  2. City platforms must bring together both public and private stakeholders in digital ecosystems
  3. City platforms must support sharing economy principles and the circular economy agenda
  4. City platforms must provide ways for local start-ups and businesses to innovate and thrive
  5. City platforms must enforce the privacy and security of confidential data
  6. City platforms must inform political decisions and offer mechanisms for residents to make their voices heard
  7. City platforms must involve the local government in their governance and curation, and are built and managed by the most competent and merited organisations
  8. City platforms must be based on open standards, industry best practices and open APIs to facilitate a vendor neutral approach, with industry agreed architecture models
  9. City platforms must support a common approach to federation of data or services between cities, making it possible for cities of all sizes to take part in the growing data economy
  10. City platforms must support the principles of UN Sustainable Development
  11. Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
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