The 'smart city' challenge


Cities are developing different projects, and linked initiatives under the umbrella of ‘smart cities’. Innovative and smart solutions are available, but uptake in some European cities is sometimes slow. The impacts of smart city solutions currently available are not always verified in an objective way as there is a lack of confidence that the same solutions can be applied in other contexts and cities. 


With a common performance measurement framework for Europe, CITYkeys aims to speed up the transition toward low carbon and sustainable smart cities by facilitating stakeholders in projects or cities to learn from each other, create trust in solutions and monitor progress.


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)


CITYkeys has a genuine European approach, trying to match the needs and priorites of European cities. Cities were involved from the first day to deliver high-level technical outputs adapted to and usable by other cities.


Building on existing frameworks and initiatives, CITYkeys' system uses open data formats, standards and initiatives. CITYkeys developed a three-steps process to ensure the quality of data collected and processed (go to page). A demo tool is accessible on the 'Performance Measurement Framework' page.


By suggesting a genuinely integrated approach, CITYkeys contributes to 'breaking silos' in the design and implementation of city projects. It deals with two common challenges in all smart projects : governance models and scaling-up/replication of projects. It also offers the capability (but not the obligation) for cities to benchmark/evaluate themselves and compare their progress with other cities (go to Smart City Index).


Auxiliary documents have been produced to guide cities' action in using the CITYKeys performance measurement framework such as a 'user guidebook' and policy recommendations (go to page) as well as a business models report (go to page)


CITYkeys' KPIs were endorsed by the ESPRESSO project ( as part of its tool to assess the progress of cities. They have also been used by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to create its TS103463 technical specification 'Key Performance Indicators for Sustainable Digital Multiservice Cities'.