Quote by: Kevin C. Desouza, Professor of Business, Technology and Strategy, Queensland University of Technology

Kevin, an ICMA 2018-19 Research Fellow, is a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and a Distinguished Research Fellow at the China Institute for Urban Governance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He has held tenured faculty appointments at the University of Washington, Virginia Tech, and Arizona State University. In addition, he holds or has held visiting appointments at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Università Bocconi, University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Ljubljana.


The emergence of autonomous systems will enable smart communities to leverage data from a wide assortment of sensors embedded in physical artifacts and connected to humans through the application of predictive analytics and machine learning systems. Smart communities will truly become more intelligent through increased situational awareness of their environments, which will enable them to assess the impact of actions by organizations and individuals within their environments. They will exploit their real-time situational awareness to devise evidence-driven policy and processes; to experiment with novel innovations; and to advance the objectives of building livable, resilient, sustainable, and just communities. A smart community will build inclusive platforms to tap into the creative energies of its stakeholders to co-create, experiment, and implement creative technology-enabled solutions in a responsible manner that preserves public values while advancing the economic, cultural, and social vitality of its ethos.

2019 Tip

Embrace the digitization journey that we are on. Pay close attention to how emerging technologies are being designed and developed. Contribute to the conversations that are shaping the future of emerging technologies. Contribute to ongoing experiments and forums that allow you access to technology expertise and solutions to address wicked problems facing our communities. Open avenues for external expertise and perspectives on emerging technologies and urban innovation to seamlessly integrate with programs underway in your community. Do not fear ideas that are not designed in-house. Embrace the fact that the future of emerging technologies requires your perspective and input. Do not simply allow the technologist to design for you and make simplistic assumptions. And finally, as John Christopher Jones reminds us, "design everything on the assumption that people are not heartless or stupid but marvelously capable, given the chance.”

Learn More

Download these reports from ICMA: A Guide for Smart Communities, Smart Communities: Rethinking Infrastructure, and Smart Communities and Data Analytics. For more information about the contributor, visit Kevin’s website (www.kevindesouza.net).

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