Volker Buscher, Director, Arup gives his thoughts on this year's CSCLeaders challenge: 'What makes a city smart?'

If you are thinking about Smart Cities as a digital economy, keep in mind that it is the citizen who should benefit from a stronger economy, broader political engagement, better place, more efficient infrastructure, more aligned social / care provision, more resource efficient and a low carbon city. All of these outcomes can be pursued as we see digital technology reaching all aspects of urban living and working.

Just imagine how much technology was used in cities and by citizens five years ago and now imagine us using less technology in the future; it is not realistic. The digital future is often under-imagined over five years but also carries overly optimistic projections for the short term.

Delivering this vision requires top-down and bottom-up action. Vision, policy and leadership are required to capture the opportunity and to ensure the citizen is not getting lost in a techno utopian future telling you and me how to live our lives day to day. Citizen engagement, as well as work with startups, the local economy and academia is also required - they are the foundation of the digital economy and they reside in the heart of your city and not just in a call centre somewhere in the ether.

So, what is your role in creating a benign urban digital future?

Let us know in comments below.

This year's CSCLeaders challenge is 'What makes a city smart?'

By 2050, nearly 75% of the world's population will live in cities. This growth creates new opportunities but also presents cities with huge economic, environmental and social challenges. Can 'Smart' solutions be found? And not just in the form of technology, but also crucially through leadership, innovation and collaboration?