Standards can build a bright future for your city

  • BSI
  • 19 October 2017
  • Posted in: Science & Technology, Planning & Development

Tackling the problems associated with urbanization will always be a complex issue. Increasing urbanisation, greater stress on city services, climate change, pressure on public sector budgets (to name but a few) all add up to a difficult, but necessary challenge for cities to face.

BSI has been working with cities and stakeholder groups for several years, to develop appropriate and implementable standards solutions to help address the challenge and turn adversity into opportunity.

BSI itself is the UK National Standards Body, appointed by Government to gather industry, academia, Government, NGOs, etc., to draft standards of expert good practice by stakeholders, for stakeholders. Standards are the distilled wisdom of the experts; they codify a common approach to any subject to help positive organisational development. BSI provides a neutral space in which all interests can be represented and manages the drafting process to ensure that consensus is built in a transparent and consultative fashion, including periods of public comment.

Through standardisation, BSI has been able to help organisations all over the world improve performance, reduce risk and achieve sustainable growth through collaboration and standardisation. While standards might be more typically associated with products, their applicability to city challenges is just as appropriate.

For instance, one important challenge for local authorities is that key decisions are often made in isolation on a department-by-department basis, rather than with a big-picture view of the city as a whole. City leaders and town planners can use a standard, validated approach to data management to provide quality data assets that can generate value and inform city-wide decision-making. The process of standardisation provides the assurance to the user that the standard provides a validated approach, developed by experts, and consulted on extensively to ensure the provisions are correct.

There is huge potential for the UK to become the world leader in smart cities, achieving a strategic advantage for UK cities and industry. But standards will be essential, just as they are with any industry / sector. BSI has worked with its stakeholders to publish several standards, both national standards and also international standards that help build global alignment. Even now work continues on new standards or revisions to ensure that current learning is fed back into the process, improving the standards and tracking new developments. These BSI smart city standards will help to address barriers to implementing smart city concepts and promote uptake of smart city solutions at scale.

The standards published start with helping a city establish a vision and strategy. They provide guidance on planning and implementation of infrastructure projects. There are also standards to help with data management, from providing a framework for data sharing to allowing a common language for collaboration and insight across the whole range of city services, promoting systems interoperability. BSI has also published standard tools for city indicators and how to make the business case for smart city initiatives.

However, standards can only be created through volunteer engagement by a stakeholder community. The better the engagement, the better the standard. And better standards are proven to build better market conditions, products & services, and management all adding up to UK growth & reputational benefit.

  • smart cities
  • urban growth
  • cities
  • Article Author

About BSI

BSI is the business standards company that helps organisations all over the world make excellence a habit. For more than a century we have been challenging mediocrity and complacency to help embed excellence into the way people and products work. That means showing organisations how to improve performance, reduce risk and achieve sustainable growth…