The journey to smart cities goes way back to the 1970s, when Los Angeles created the first urban big data project: “A Cluster Analysis of Los Angeles”. The first smart city was arguably Amsterdam with the creation of a virtual digital city in 1994. Things then speeded up in mid-2000s when IBM and Cisco launched separate initiatives. In 2011, the inaugural Smart City Expo World Congress was held in Barcelona, which has now become an annual event charting smart cities’ development.

Listed below are the major milestones in the smart cities theme, as identified by GlobalData.

1974 – Los Angeles created the first urban big data project: “A Cluster Analysis of Los Angeles” report.

1994 – Amsterdam created a virtual ‘digital city’ – De Digital Stad (DDS) – to promote Internet usage.

2005 – Cisco put up $25m over five years for research into smart cities.

2008 – IBM Smarter Planet project investigated applying sensors, networks and analytics to urban issues.

2009 – IBM unveiled $50m Smarter Cities campaign to help cities run more efficiently.

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2009 – American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided funding for US smart grid projects.

2009 – EU Electricity Directive required EU states to roll out smart meters to 80% of consumers by 2020.

2010 – Japanese government named Yokohama as a smart city demonstrator project.

2011 – IBM named 24 cities as Smarter Cities winners from 200 applicants.

2011 – 6000 visitors from over 50 countries attended first Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona.

2012 – Barcelona deployed data-drive urban systems, including public transit, parking, and street lighting.

2013 – China announced first batch of pilot smart cities, comprising 90 cities, districts and towns.

2013 – Mayor of London created Smart London Board to shape London’s digital technology strategy.

2014 – China launched second batch of 103 pilot smart cities.

2014 – Vienna City Council launched Smart City Wien Framework Strategy until 2025.

2015 – China announced third batch of 84 smart cities, comprising 277 in all.

2015 – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Smart Cities Mission” for 100 Indian cities.

2016 – Columbus won US Dept of Transportation’s $50m Smart Cities Challenge.

2017 – UK government launched 5G testbeds and trials programme.

2017 – Hong Kong launched smart city blueprint.

2018 – Toronto and Google offshoot Sidewalk Labs announced plan to develop smart waterfront area.

2018 – London updated 2013 plans with launch of ‘Smarter London Together’ roadmap.

2018 – IESE Business School Cities in Motion Index ranked New York, London and Paris as its top 3 cities.

2018 – Singapore won Smart City of 2018 award at the Smart City Expo World Congress.

2019 – Ford committed to support Cellular Vehicle to Everything (C-V2X) standard.

2019 – Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto planning document fiercely criticised over data privacy implications.

2019 – G20 nations picked World Economic Forum as secretariat for a G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.

2019 – US Federal Communications Commission picked New York and Salt Lake City as 5G testbeds.

2020 – Vietnam to start work on new $4.2bn smart city close to Hanoi, with completion target of 2028.

2030 – By 2030, the number of cities in the world with a population of more than 10 million will grow to 43.

2050 – By 2050, up to 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities.

This is an edited extract from the Smart cities – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.