A Smart City Starts and Ends with a Smart Community

Learn to become Community SMART and to Invest in Your People



By Mark Reeson

UK and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


In a world where technology is all around us and we continue to be challenged to save more time and money through the immediacy of automation, there is a huge danger of forgetting a key factor behind any change, it involves people.

Having worked with many ‘Smart Specialists’ and invested my time to contrast the approaches being taken through some of the latest Smart Cities, it is becoming more apparent that the ‘Internet of Things’ which has gradually become the ‘Internet of Everything’ has a potential to make a Smart City, a faceless city, or rather a faceless community.  A city and its identity is based on what it looks like and what it does, but mostly on its cultural and social values.  Therefore, a truly Smart City must start and end, with its own Smart Community.

However, before we all start to consider throwing out all the technology, it is important to recognise that the community that we have will need to be supported and at certain times, directed by the technology.  The key word to all this success is balance, so that the technology that we use adds value to “The City and its Community” in a way that it is FOR ALL and that it does not leave behind some members of our valued and unique society that has been built up of centuries.

So, what exactly is a Smart Community and what does it mean to become Community SMART?

Starting quite simply, people are impacted by their living or working environment, whether a city, an organisation or a province or region.  The impact can be evaluated using six key factors, each one as equally important individually, but when combined, creating a powerful sense of well-being and integrated inclusion FOR ALL.

The six factors that have to be identified and then evaluated in each city or community are as follows:

√   Safety

√   Efficiency

√   Livability

√   Health

√   Prosperity

√   Sustainability

These six factors are generally referenced by organisations or authorised bodies as Social Responsibilities, whether these are personal or corporate.  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is that undertaken by a business approach so that it contributes to a sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all internal and external stakeholders from its plans and its actions.  However, CSR is a concept with many definitions and practices all wrapped up inside.

One of these key practices, is that of Social Responsibility, which is an idea that businesses, governments or people of authority should balance the profit-making activities with sociological beneficial activities which involve developing businesses and organisational bodies with a positive relationship to the society in which they operate.

One of the biggest drivers towards CSR and to making a difference to the world and to our communities was the release in January 2016 of the United Nations Development Goals when they issued seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  With the plan in place, the intention of the UN is that over the coming fifteen years, these new goals would be applied universally to all, with countries mobilising efforts to end all forms of poverty, to fight inequality and to also tackle climate change ensuring that no single body of people are left behind.

It was whilst reviewing the SDGs in the Autumn of 2017, that it became apparent that the UN strategy is in many ways aligned with the SMART Sustainability Modelling programme which has identified a FOR ALL strategy.  This alignment led the team to then identify how the Smart City approach is also integrated and so the City SMART initiative that was started by M R Project Solutions Ltd in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was further adapted to include the UN’s vision with the SMART Vision 2017 and the SMART Model to enhance its value and to finally develop the Community SMART Concept.


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About the Author

Mark Reeson, RPP, FAPM, PMP AfCGI

United Kingdom


Professor Mark Reeson
 is a project management specialist with over thirty years’ experience.  A Fellow of the Association for Project Management, he has been involved in many project and programme consultative roles.   Most recently Mark has been working with the Saudi Arabian Municipality of the Eastern Province to change the way that project management is carried out within the region, using his newly recognised SMART Sustainability Modelling for project and business management.

He was appointed a Professor of Project Management at the University of Business and Technology, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which was a culmination of his work in training and consulting in the region on matters that relate to project management, supply chain management and sustainability modelling.  Having previously held the position of a specialist Sustainability Management Global Advisor he has moved forward from that position and now regularly supports businesses and projects alike in streamlining their approaches to change and strategic development providing greater longevity in their business planning.

Having started his career in the Royal Air Force, Mark has continued to develop by working and delivering projects in multiple fields of industry ranging from the nuclear environment, into pharmaceuticals, finance and also the international sporting fields.

Mark has developed his role within project management through further experience with the nuclear industry and is now the owner of M R Project Solutions Limited where he has fulfilled the role of Project Management Advisor for the last three and a half years covering every continent.  His role is very much client facing and Mark now almost permanently travels the world meeting clients, developing solutions and providing training for their project families either directly through his own organisation or in support of others.  Mark’s main role is the development and the consultation with many organisations on ensuring they choose the right approach or methodology to deliver their projects and then follows this up with the correct bespoke training programmes for how their company wants to share this learning with their staff members.

Mark has changed the approach to learning by the ongoing development of his original ‘Living Learning’ programme by introducing a new learning experience for all taking the classroom format and making it come to life with his popular and original ‘Applied Learning’ simulation training and coaching technique.  He has taken this forward over the past few years to introduce this training style so that project management learning and behaviour has now started to be delivered into the schools and colleges looking to develop the technical, behavioural and contextual skills and attitudes of their students.

As a regular public speaker Mark now shares his experience, knowledge and commitment with those associations wanting to move forward in a more sustainable and successful manner.

Mark’s next aim is to develop this further and to spread project management knowledge and competency to many more organisations worldwide, having already started with successful deliveries globally.

Mark can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Mark Reeson, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/mark-reeson/