Blueprint for Smart Cities, a Research by ztudium citiesabc indexdna and Durham University, Proposes a New Social Contract for Cities and Society

The “Blueprint for Smart Cities” lays out the foundation of a new social contract based on inclusivity, safety, resilience and sustainability in the cities of the future. The research was led by ztudium citiesabc indexdna and the University of Durham, in partnership with University of Surrey, Big Innovation Centre and others.

LONDON, March 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As cities continue to grow in both size and population, redefining human interaction along the way, a framework for human-centric smart city ecosystems has become critical. The urban population is expected to grow around 7 billion by 2050 and, while this brings immense opportunities, it also creates huge challenges. In such a scenario, the need of the hour is to create inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities. Cities need to become smarter, bring all stakeholders together, and utilise the latest technological innovation.

Previous models for smart cities have suffered challenges, owing to the shifting dynamics of physical and cyber spaces. The “Blueprint for Smart Cities” redesigns the current model to provide a new social contract with humans at the core. It focuses on extensive coordination between policy makers, universities, industry, and citizens: the four agents that make up the Quadruple Helix Innovation model on which the analysis has been based. 

The multilateral feedback systems that exist between these agents are crucial to consider if we are to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Blueprint for Smart Cities is an approach based on the intersection of human and technological aspects of development.

A smart city does not simply mean ‘smart + city’ but emphasises who is leading the city. This means developing a city by the people, for the people, where the goal is to create a human-centric ecosystem. ‘Blueprint for Smart Cities – A Social Contract’ with ztudium citiesabc indexdna provides a way of developing a human-centric ecosystem where physical and cyberspace systems are interconnected to bring about social, economic, political and environmental changes“, explains Her Royal Highness, Princess Katarina de Silva of Yugoslavia and Serbia.

Compiled, edited and published by Dinis Guarda, ztudium citiesabc indexdna and the University of Durham in partnership with Professor Yu Xiong from the University of Surrey and Big Innovation Centre, the research is  led by Professor Kiran Fernandes, Dr. Atanu Chaurhuri and Ashish Kakar, the Blueprint for Smart Cities advocates a human-focused approach to building the smart cities of the future.

The blueprint highlights the dynamics that exist in cities globally between the four agents at the outset of the Quadruple Helix Innovation model. That is around society, business, academic research and government. It explores the multidirectional feedback systems that emanate from their respective decisions and understands the complexity of these constant adjustments and adaptations, proposing a framework for the holistic development of cities. 

We realised that smart city indexes operated within a static framework, making the results unreliable and in constant need of updates. Our approach is dynamic, identifying smart cities as human-centric and analysing the multidirectional feedback systems between the different pillars that make up a smart city. We are thrilled to have collaborated with the Centre for Innovation and Technology Management at the Durham University Business School, whose academic insights and deep research were crucial to creating this Blueprint for Smart Cities. In doing this, we hope to set a new standard for future smart city indexes and rankings“, said Dinis Guarda, founder citiesabc & openbusinesscouncil, author.

The report identifies several factors for consideration that are outlined as essential to the development of a human-centric smart city alongside technological advancements:

  1. Innovation & Technology, 
  2. People & Human Resources, 
  3. Wellness, Health, Education & Liveability, 
  4. Financial Funding, 
  5. Leadership & Governance, 
  6. Business Professional ESR, 
  7. Circular Economy, and 
  8. Energy Net Neutrality.

According to Dr. Kiran Fernandes Professor at Durham University and co-author of the report, this blueprint serves as a “handbook for developing human-centric cities. The report is in direct sync with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and specifically promotes sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic growth. It ensures productive and decent employment for all. We aim to make our cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable on a global scale”.

“Blueprint For Smart Cities” is an initiative in continuation to the governments’ constant efforts for building smarter and more digitised cities worldwide. It is an enhancement of the global efforts to create sustainable, more habitable smart cities, and ready for the future.

Download the report here.

The report was launched in a private event at the House of Lords by Lord Holmes of Richmond and the foreword by HRH Princess Katarina de Silva of Yugoslavia and Serbia. Read more here

About citiesabc indexdna

Citiesabc indexdna is the leading edge AI, ML and NLP data analytical engine powering the dashboards for citiesabc, and a proprietary IP of techabc (proudly part of the ztudium group). citiesabc is a digital transformation platform to empower, guide and index cities. It was formed by a team of global industry leaders, academics and experts creating new solutions, listings, rankings and connections for the world’s top cities and populations. citiesabc offers the best of innovation in 4ir, digital transformation, blockchain, AI, NFTs, smart cities technologies and big data.

Along with Durham University and strategic partners, citiesabc indexdna has produced the research “Blueprint for Smart Cities: A Social Contract” where it highlights the dynamics that exist in cities globally between the four agents at the outset of the Quadruple Helix Innovation model and propose a framework for the holistic development of cities. The Smart Cities Blueprint forms the basis for additional research on combining public data and social media which will provide city and sentiment insights around the UN SDGs.

About ztudium 

ztudium is a global leading maker of industry 4IR Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and research. We build software, research products and service solutions, using blockchain, AI and digital transformation DNA. We create proprietary leading platforms, software products for businesses and governments. 

ztudium has built a global ecosystem reaching over 1 million people a month and have built a revolutionary set of SaaS products. We are focusing on growth and establishing a global leading organisation tackling and offering solutions to the 90% of the global society and economy that is not digitally transformed. Its proprietary platforms include,,,, its latest metaverse platform and techabc

About Durham University Business School

Durham is an international triple accredited business school. Founded in 1965, we are one of the UK’s longest established business schools and are proud to be integral to Durham University. 

Sharing insights, supporting innovation and teaching tomorrow’s leaders. We believe that to succeed in business, you need to get closer to the realities of business – so that’s what we do. We combine our academic excellence, insightful research and exceptional global business connections, to equip our students and alumni to become innovative business thinkers of the future and an influential individual in and beyond their careers. 

Contact: Hernaldo Turrillo, [email protected], Tel No – +44 7751 667277 

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