Assessing Impact, Performance and Sustainability Potential of Smart City Projects: Towards a Case Agnostic Evaluation Framework


Authors: Konstantinos Kourtzanidis , Komninos Angelakoglou , Vasilis Apostolopoulos , Paraskevi Giourka and Nikolaos Nikolopoulos

Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute, Thermi, GR-57001
Thessaloniki, Greece; (K.A.); (V.A.); (P.G.); (N.N.)
* Correspondence:

Abstract: We report on a novel evaluation framework to globally assess the footprint of smart cities and communities (SCC) projects, being also expandable to the case of smart grid related projects. The uniform smart city evaluation (USE) framework is constructed upon three complementary evaluation axes: the first one aims to weigh up the success of a SCC project based on performance metrics against pre-defined project-specific target values. The second axis focuses on the project’s impact towards the sustainability of a city and it is bench-marked against national and international key objectives arising from strategic plans. This bench-marking feeds the third axis which provides a more inclusive evaluation against four pre-defined and widely acclaimed sectors of interest. The steps to be followed for the uniform evaluation of each axis and corresponding index are presented in detail, including necessary key performance indicator (KPI) normalization, weighting, and aggregation methods. The resulting indices’ scores for each axis (namely project performance index, sustainability impact index, and sustainability performance index) can be post-processed with adequate data processing and visualization tools to extract important information on the extent to which the range of success of a SCC project contributes to the city sustainability progress. Illustrative examples from an on-going SCC project are provided to highlight the strengths of the approach. The proposed framework can be used to compare multiple projects within a city and sustainability and project performance in different cities, evaluate the interventions chosen per project against city needs, benchmark and design future projects (with, e.g., reverse engineering, projections), as well as evaluate various spatial and temporal scales.

Keywords: smart cities; evaluation; frameworks; impact; KPI