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September-November 2016

Netherlands needs ‘bottom up’ approach to create smart cities

Creating a smart city is not just about technological innovations – it also means connecting existing networks and resources in a smart way. The Dutch city of Breda is a pioneer in this area. Commercial organisations, including telecoms providers and utilities, often explain their needs to local councillors, who then want to implement a top-down approach to create a smart city. “But that does not work,” says Corné Kriesels, co-ordinator, cables and pipes, for the city of Breda. “To create a successful smart city, only a bottom-up approach will succeed. That means a municipality must first pay attention to what is happening in the city and then look critically at the processes and workflow in its own organisation.” That is exactly what Kriesels did when he came to work for the city authority six years ago. He saw lots of paper flows, rigid rules and inefficient processes. He held many conversations with fellow municipalities and other stakeholders, such as fibre-optic provider Eurofiber, and built up a picture of the city’s ...

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