Liege University’s Smart City Institute recently published the fifth volume of their Smart Cities Guide for municipalities. The theme of this edition is the monitoring and evaluation of smart city projects.
The Institute conducted a study last year in Wallonia – a region in southern Belgium – examining the challenges and shortcomings local administrations face. The study showed that though the majority of municipalities consider the evaluation and monitoring process to be important, less than 20% are able to do so. Various reasons for the lack of monitoring and benchmarking include: a lack of manpower and human resources to carry out monitoring and evaluation; a lack technical knowledge; issues with existing biases and subjective decision making; a lack of entrepreneurial experience; and a lack of proper access to data.
Liege University’s fifth volume contains guides and benchmarking examples for city authorities to gain a better understanding of smart city projects and their effectiveness. The Institute points out the differences between monitoring and evaluation. Monitoring simply means following up on how a project is functioning, and assessing any potential deviations from its objective. Evaluation is a more in-depth and detailed analysis of the reasons for the success or failure of a project.
As it can be difficult to quantify the value of smart city initiatives, monitoring and evaluation are fundamental for gauging the value of a project. These processes can help local governments to understand to what extent a project is sustainable and whether it improves or detracts from residents’ quality of life. This provides benefits for both governments and residents: municipal authorities are able to manage their assets better and focus on continuous improvement, and residents benefit from transparency.
The full collection of guides and companion material is free and downloadable. They are available in French, English, and Dutch.