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Smart city planning vision case


October 28, 2016

Public Financial Management (PFM) plays a significant role in smart government. FreeBalance is developing numerous “vision cases” to describe the intersection of PFM and “smart”.

The planning and implementation of smart cities is enabled through PFM techniques and the use of open government. Cities cannot achieve “smart” without citizen engagement and a citizen-centric perspective.


  • Sensors: sensors (RFID, IoT, GPS, wearables) provides city governments with imporant information
  • Analytics: data from the sensors is gathered using big data techniques to provide insight into city problems
  • Transparency Portal: the analytics could directly drive government priorities, but data without context is interesting but not necessarily relevant, so the information needs to be published for citizens, civil society groups and businesses to identify what is important
  • Government Priorities: the mandate for smart cities should be well-articulated financially by showing trade-offs among programs and projects and the multiple-year impact of public investments
  • Participatory Budgeting: community meetings, open sessions and web technology can be used for participatory budgeting
  • Public Investment Planning: participatory processes adapts the yearly and medium-term public investment plan
  • Transparency Portal: the approved budget is published
  • Public Works: public investments are built and maintained after procurement and contracts completed (more details in smart assets vision case)
  • E-Results: status of the public investment project is updated based on the contract updates including pictures
  • Project Oversight: citizens are able to comment and show pictures about smart city outputs and outcomes such as whether there is adequate water arriving at homes or whether the bridge constuction is of good quality
  • Performance Management: citizen feedback augments the public financial system to provide performance information to city leaders

The integration of PFM, open government and digital devices provides the “smart” in Smart Government:

  • Citizen-centric: use of participatory budgeting and citizen oversight makes planning and execution citizen-focused where the importance of outcomes is set by those who are most affected by public investments
  • Data-driven: data from sensors build the analytics required to make effective decisions
  • Performance-focused: as described above, the citizen-centric approach enables governments to create performance indicators that resonate with citizens
  • Long-term: transparency of financial information across many years provides citizens with long-term context for participatory budgeting and citizen oversight
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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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