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CITYkeys – Performance evaluation framework for smart cities and projects

The CITYkeys project has developed two connected sets of indicators. One set is intended for the harmonised and transparent monitoring of the effectivity of smart city projects across European cities. These project indicators indicate the difference the project has made, by comparing the situation without the project with the situation after the implementation of the project. The second set aims to show the contribution of smart city projects to the city level. The city indicators can additionally be used to compare the “smartness” of cities.

Citykeys is an Horizon 2020 project in which the partner cities, champions under the smart cities, Rotterdam, Tampere, Vienna, Zagreb and Zaragoza were closely involved in the design of the framework, the selection of the indicators and the testing.

CITYkeys Sustainability Framework

With a starting point in the CITYkeys smart city definition, and taking into account the wishes of cities and citizens with regard to smart city projects and indicators, the framework is arranged in an extended triple bottom line sustainability framework, including the main themes people, planet, prosperity, governance and propagation. Under the main themes, subthemes conforming with major policy ambitions have been identified.

The structure was based on an inventory of 43 existing indicator frameworks for (sustainable) cities and projects. In addition, the majority of the indicators in the CITYkeys selection have been derived from these existing indicator frameworks. New indicators have been suggested to fill gaps in existing frameworks, mostly related to specific characteristics of smart city projects.

CITYkeys Sustainability Indicators

Under each of the subthemes of the framework (such as health, energy & mitigation, equity and community involvement), indicators have been identified, most of which describe the impact smart city projects can have. A unique feature of CITYkeys is that it includes indicators that are related to the replicability and scalability of projects, facilitating the distribution of innovations and accelerating  the transition to smarter, more sustainable cities.

In total 94 project indicators and 76 city indicators have been selected. Not all indicators are equally suited for evaluating all types of smart city projects. Although there is a considerable body of common indicators, for specific sector projects a relevant subset of these may be used (i.e. some indicators are specifically suited for transport, building and IT related projects).


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