2nd International Scientific Conference on Recent Advances in Information Technology, Tourism, Economics, Management and Agriculture – ITEMA 2018 – Graz, Austria, November 8, 2018, CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS published by the Association of Economists and Managers of the Balkans, Belgrade, Serbia; ISBN 978-86-80194-13-4
Smart city initiatives, plans, missions have “mushroomed” in every continent in recent years. These projects want to apply the information technology for improving the efficiency and quality of local services and for providing new services for the inhabitants, visitors and the entrepreneurs of the settlements, or more safety, leisure and less pollution. Areas of applications are manifold, such as transportation (vehicle routing, road pricing, parking systems, traffic patterns, congestion reducement, smart traffic lights and so on), mobile workforce enablement (city surveyors, park maintenance, inspectors, health and social services), energy (street lighting, building control, demand for electricity, energy theft detection), utilities (smart meters, field service, customer service, maintenance optimization and so on), healthcare (reducement of waiting times, forecast of visit and admission rates, real-time alerting, telemedicine and so on), education, security and others.
These projects have mainly positive impact from technological point of view (for example, more information, quality improvement, more safety is engendered). However, in the evaluation of the projects, the cost benefit analysis, the comparison of implementation and maintenance costs and the realization of benefits is either missing or use doubtful, questionable nonmonetary categories for benefits. Moreover, it typically neglects the displacement effect and opportunity costs, therefore systematically biased toward greater positive impacts. The dominant rhetoric and propaganda is strongly influenced by the big information technology companies, which set its sights on local governments as a huge, untapped market.
The paper deals with the problem of creating composite index numbers for the evaluation of Smart city projects and for the comparison of “smartness” of cities. These composite indicators are popular tools of technocrats and bureaucrats, but the transformation of a multi-indicator system into a one-dimensional metric scale, in spite of the often use of a sophisticated mathematical technique, is a highly questionable practice.
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