Agile Cities is an initiative to connect cities, citizens and innovators with good practice in bringing innovative solutions into cities, and to create tools and open standards that will facilitate a more effective, connected and transparent marketplace for innovative city solutions, thereby accelerating the uptake of high-impact proven innovations.

The Challenges

As urbanization trends continue cities face the complex challenge of delivering improved quality of life to its citizens using ever more constrained resources. With 557,000 local governments spending $4.5 trillion each year on service delivery, large investments in new and high technology infrastructures are expected to help meet these challenges. These infrastructures promise to make cities more productive, more efficient, and more sustainable – ‘smarter’. However, to deliver these services, cities are faced with a considerable challenge in becoming agile global procurers and regulators of technology on a large scale, in a marketplace that is currently highly inefficient and fragmented.


The programme is led by Citymart and The Climate Group, with partners Metropolis and the UK Technology Strategy Board, and focuses on 3 key actions:

  • Communicating effective city innovation methodologies for identifying city needs, communicating challenges, discovering, evaluating, procuring and scaling solutions.
  • Develop a platform,, to link cities with solutions providers dramatically improving the accessibility of information and diffusion of information on available products and services.  
  • Develop tools for cities and solutions providers to support cities in procurement of innovations, and facilitate solutions providers in providing the right product information in a validated format to the marketplace thereby improving the trust and transparency of procurement.


Cities and their citizens will have an overall gain by delivering better services, at lower cost and understanding the impact of technologies on accessibility, climate change and other policy objectives through the use of shared evaluation methodologies, piloting, and data and experiences collected in other markets.

Solutions providers will see marketing costs for businesses are expected to fall by up to 90% which could be carried over into more competitive solution pricing, and will gain improved visibility and a vastly more internationalised marketplace.

> For a city leader who strives for better lives for its citizens, the process of identifying and verifying their challenges, sourcing new opportunities for solving those challenges from a global marketplace and implementing pilots may all happen before any formal procurement process is underway.

The Agile Cities Programme is working alongside cities to develop good practice and marketplace tools to improve pre-procurement processes and develop a more transparent and effective marketplace for innovation city solutions. In 2013 over 50 cities participated in Agile Cities supporting the programmes baseline research which through oneline surveys and in-depth interviews with city practitioners:

  • Identified existing barriers to uptake of solutions
  • Revealed good practice in bringing innovations into cities, and
  • Identified the tools cities need to overcome these barriers and implement good practice

In 2013 cities can participate in the Agile Cities process by:

> Being part of a network of innovators spreading good practice in bringing new solutions into cities. Contact the Agile Cities team if you would like your city to participate in knowledge sharing through the network.

Development of the Agile Cities Knowledge Portal providing highlights of research findings on procurement of innovation, and good practice case studies to be shared with cities worldwide. Contact the Agile Cities team if you would like more information on the portal or would be willing to participate in interviews and surveys for the portal.

Participating in the development and testing of Agile City ‘pre-procurement’ tools. Contact Agile Cities if you would like to be part of the city stakeholders consultation group as we develop and test new Agile Cities pre-procurement and procurement tools.


Participating Cities

We would like to thank the following cities for their participation in Agile Cities in 2012, and look forward to continuing to work alongside them as we develop our Agile City tools in 2013.


Thanks to the following organisations for their feedback: