Smart Cities and the valuable role of communities

As our cities change rapidly, it is difficult to predict how to meet citizens’ needs in the next 30 years, considering the multitude of challenges currently facing the world. Today, the impact of COVID-19 has affected cities around the world. Local communities play an important role in supporting governments to keep people safe and maintain economic performance in some industries.

Local communities play an important part in Dutch Smart City initiatives. These are often a result of a collaboration between the quadruple helix: government, private sector, academic institutions and citizens – each sharing their own perspective on the concept of what a smart city is and how it should be developed. The Netherlands believes that building smart and sustainable cities can only be achieved by working together and learning from each other, and citizens offer insight into the real need of society.

Due to governments’ measures in minimising the impact of COVID-19, digitalisation has gained an immense momentum and opens doors for international smart city collaboration in a global perspective.


“The value of communities has been brought into sharp focus during the response to COVID-19”, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres

Building smart and sustainable cities together

Cities are taking measures to ensure that social distancing guidelines are met so people can move around in a comfortable and safe way. The key to achieving this in limited public space, lies in the ability to have an ongoing and real-time view of how busy hotspots are so that appropriate steps can be taken when an area gets too busy. This is the expertise of crowd management: optimising people flows. Royal HaskoningDHV uses a human-centric design that can harness data to organise space and processes to adapt to the changing needs of local community, while at the same time comply with policies set by the city’s authorities. This will result in continued access to public spaces, improved safety, enhanced comfort and better control for city managers.

Social distancing guidelines also have an effect on community meetings. For the foreseeable future, residents will not be able to meetup and discuss, for example, reorganisation of their neighbourhood. The participation rate of these meeting has on the decline for past couple of years. Hello Buurman has developed a digital solution to solve these problems. Through their tool, residents can participate in the decision-making process when and wherever it suits them. With this tool local authorities can observe the social distancing guidelines and hopefully also increase the participation rate of residence meetings.

Get in touch and join us

Want to know more about how you can work together with the Netherlands to achieve your goals? Or how you can help contribute to or spread the word on campaigns, events and initiatives? Contact us directly at info@nlplatform.nl so we can help you connect to the right people.