A model in development to assess the social impact of ICT in smart cities
Ainhoa Sorrosal
The difference with other models is that it takes into account the real impact in variables such as citizens' quality of life and the environment.

UOC spin-off Open Evidence and Cet.la have developed a new model to assess the rollout of projects and policies with a social impact in smart cities. According to researchers, it is a question of going beyond the smart city as a concept and quantifying the real effects of the impact of the policies that are put in place. This is precisely the theme of the World Smart City Expo, hosted by Barcelona between 14 and 16 November, an event in which 700 cities from 120 countries, with 420 speakers and some 17,000 visitors, are taking part. 

The Juniper Research consultancy firm states that six of the ten most powerful smart cities are in Europe, and highlights the role of Singapore, Barcelona, London, Oslo and San Francisco. In a recent article, urban strategist Boyd Cohen places Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona in the European top ten. However, in making the classification, he assesses different issues. In the case of the first three cities, he highlights the promotion of the use of bicycles and the commitment to environmental policies; in the case of Paris, the economic policies, promotion of ICT among the population, governance and environmental policies. With regard to Barcelona, he underlines the city council’s commitment to the smart city concept, the promotion of renewable energies and the commitment to bicycles.

These classifications have been made through different models. Despite this, these rankings do not quantify the impact of these characteristics on specific variables. This is where the model presented by Open Evidence (UOC) and Cet.la comes in. UOC researcher Francisco Lupiez has co-led the project that has produced a measurement model that combines “the fundamental role of ICT and other elements such as sustainable economic growth, reduction of emissions and quality of life”.

Pioneering model

“The majority of classifications only take into account how many sensors are installed but not what effect this has on the reduction in vehicle transport, pollution and the number of deaths a year due to inhalation of toxic fumes”, explains Francisco Lupiez-Villanueva, professor at the UOC. The variables in quantifying impact have been grouped into the following categories:

  • Smart Economy: regarding the economic cost of the project.
  • Smart Governance: referring to the elements relating to the municipal administration.
  • Smart Mobility: indicators related to transport and ICT.
  • Smart Environment: factors related to energy consumption.
  • Smart People: population, studies, use of ICT.
  • Smart Living: regarding the quality of life in the city.

The model is an analytical decision-making model that uses the best available evidence to calculate the cost-effectiveness of the action.




Francisco Lupiez

co-founder of the UOC spin-off Open Evidence and professor at the Faculty of Information and Communication Sciences at the UOC.

Expert in: the impact of ICT on social policies and eHealth. The study referred to has been published in the report "Ciudades Inteligentes: Evaluacin social de proyectos de Smart Cities", currently available in Spanish only.

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