SMART TERRITORIES: the future of Smart Cities

SMART TERRITORIES: the future of Smart Cities

The smart cities are the ones that using technologies are looking forward to both improve the life quality of their inhabitants and to be environmentally sustainable. The final purpose of a smart city is to “reach an efficient management at all areas of the city, such as urbanism, infrastructure, transport, services, education, health care, public security and energy, satisfying the necessities of the urbanization and its citizens” according to the definition on the Smart Cities White Paper.

Nowadays the focus is not only on smart cities. We are talking more and more about smart islands, smart regions… Finally, step by step we are reaching the use of ‘Smart Territories’ to refer to a broader concept known internationally as ‘Smart sustainable Cities and Communities’.


So, what is a Smart Territory?

The United Nations defines as “innovative territories that use information and communications technologies (ICT) and other manners to improve life quality, operations and urban services efficiency and competitiveness, assuring that it satisfies the needs of the present and future generations, as well as respects cultural aspects”.


The essence of Smart Territories: 

  • Are developed through strategic projects. They bet on strategic projects that have a regional interest and capacity transform this territory.
  • Are projects that are looking for integration with its environment, the surroundings, and the connections with the existing urban systems.
  • Are projects that bet on innovation.
  • Are based on a fusion and mix concepts of the urban uses and recover the traditional values of urbanism. Generate urban life, reducing the energetic and mobility needs.
  • Urbanism for a healthy life. An urbanism of values responding to concepts, generating spaces for the living on public spaces.
  • A sustainable urbanism and bioclimatic architecture. Places in which energy consumption is really low and there is respect with the surroundings.
  • Zero emissions objective. Or at least, try to minimize the emissions.
  • Complete life cycle and recycle of waste. The water is a finite resource on the planet and we must preserve it, reuse it… the same applies for the waste, we are huge generators of waste and it can be really harmful for our lives and future generations.
  • Last generation Digital Technology. Implement digital technology as a way to improve a city, create better living conditions for an area, but not using that as an end.
  • Economic and social profitability. The urban projects should focus on the search for both profits. Projects that focus only on the economic part are not accepted.


It was found in Spain in 2011 the Network for Spanish Smart Cities (RECI), a cluster for the cities to share experiences, achievements and failures and to learn from it all, generating, this way a map of necessities, services, solutions and equipment looking towards the sustainable future.

In June2017, José María Lassalle, secretary of state on the Society of the information and digital agenda (SESIAD), planed the development of an intelligent country through the use of Big Data to facilitate the interoperability of the smart cities, the creation of smart tourism destinations, the creation of smart rural communities and 4.0 public services. He also highlighted that the main goal is “to look for technological solutions that cover the whole territory, in special the rural zones that have been in danger of being isolated economically and territorially”.

The territories should adapt themselves and have suppliers and services to integrate intelligent systems such as sensors and communication modules that help the whole system. If it does not go towards a smart future, the territories will be more expansive, less attractive for its inhabitants and companies and will in the end collapse into degraded zones.

Are we aware of the future that we are leaving for the following generations?