The Human Smart Cities Manifesto

In Science and Society

The Human Smart Cities Manifesto builds a network of cities committed to facilitating the development of effective Smart City strategies and its uptake across a range of cultural, geographical, and infrastructural contexts.

The Human Smart Cities Manifesto builds a network of cities committed to facilitating the development of effective Smart City strategies and its uptake across a range of cultural, geographical, and infrastructural contexts. The Manifesto has been signed in Rome, on the 29th of May of 2013 by cities from all over the world.

Networking Citizen-driven Innovation Preamble
We, the signatories of this Manifesto, come together to address the three main challenges facing the our cities today:

The devastating effects of the financial crisis undermining the European social model. This is leading to severe limitations in cities’ abilities to invest in new infrastructures, and in some areas even for the provision of basic city services such as transportation and social services.

The increasing threat and disruption brought about by climate change to our territories. As major floods and droughts become ever more common, the environmental effects of urbanisation and the lack of adequate tools and behaviour patterns becomes increasingly evident.

The demand for more effective representation set forth by our constituencies. The so-called democratic deficit is a cause for alarm for governance at any scale, but it also adds to the difficulty of building trust and engaging citizens in addressing common problems.

These challenges call for a transformational change in the way we all work, live, play, and build our future, which in turn places a special burden on those of us holding the responsibility to govern such processes with an optimum usage of the public resources available. We are deeply convinced that technological and social innovation can make an invaluable contribution in that direction, if urban policies adequately consider citizens and their innovation capacity the most valuable resource.

In this crucial time and with these challenges in mind, we reach out to our citizens and enterprises to join us in a broad endeavour of co-creating the most appropriate strategies for each of our cities, as well as implementing them jointly in the years to come.


Human Smart Cities are those where governments engage citizens by being open to be engaged by citizens, supporting the co-design of technical and social innovation processes through a peer-to-peer relationship based on reciprocal trust and collaboration. The Human Smart City is a city where people – citizens and communities – are the main actors of urban “smartness”. A Human Smart City adopts services that are born from people’s real needs and have been co-designed through interactive, dialogic, and collaborative processes. In a Human Smart City, people are not obliged to adopt technologies that have been selected and purchased by their municipal governments; they rather are encouraged to compose their own services using available technologies in simple, often frugal solutions. Co-creation initiatives at the heart of the Human Smart City concept also stimulate local development, creating new business models and new apps, products, services and solutions. Indeed, the solutions for the big challenges of our time require not only innovative technologies but, above all, mass behaviour transformation of the kind that can only be achieved through the involvement of people. Through the appropriate governance of social and technical innovation and the integration of Future Internet technologies, Living Labs and Social Innovation, the Human Smart Cities vision aims to build on a new sense of belonging and identity, wellbeing and community, to shape a better and happier society.


With this Human Smart Cities Manifesto, we signatories join forces to build a network of Human Smart Cities – the HSC Network – throughout the world that share this common vision and learn from each other to find the right path towards social and urban innovation. In accordance with the Human Smart Cities Roadmap, we agree to the following 7 commitments.

1. We place trust at the foundation of the HSC network, agreeing to abide by the standards set by the UN for good governance: participation, decency, transparency, accountability, fairness, efficiency, and sustainable development. All participant cities are considered to have a unique role, contributing to innovation initiatives and policies on an equal, peer basis.

2. We will apply the Open Government model to our city’s use of ICT, including transparency and Open Data, an appropriate role for Open Source and re-usability, and citizen and stakeholder participation in decisions related to key ICT infrastructures and services. Where possible, we will favour the adoption of simple, frugal solutions that can be shared across the HSC network.

3. We will explore where possible the citizen-centred approach for the co-design of all new city services, promoting creativity and engagement as well as active participation in service delivery. Together with our economic partners, we will also explore potential new business models for the promotion of innovation ecosystems and the delivery of services in the public interest.

4. We will promote institutional innovation within and across our city administration as an integral part of our role in service co-design. This includes the exploration of Pre-Commercial Procurement and other procedural and financial innovations, and collaboration with regional and national authorities to promote policy coherence across instruments and programmes.

5. We will actively participate in networking among signatories to this manifesto, actively contributing to its shared resources, attending the HSC network’s yearly conferences, and collaborating to define a sustainable institutional structure. We will also leverage the potential of relevant networks at both international and national level.

6. We will together define measurable goals, success criteria, and performance indicators allowing our stakeholders to assess their progress towards objectives and promote scaling up and transfer. In sharing our evaluations, we will aim to promote learning from different cultural and urban contexts rather than competition, while still demonstrating the concrete benefits of the HSC approach.

7. Finally, we will promote the HSC network itself globally, as an innovative and open multi-level partnership ideally suited to implementing bottom up the policy goals of Europe 2020 and similar frameworks. To that end, we commit to bringing one new signatory per year.

Launched in Rome, 29 May 2013