Skip to main content

Building smart cities that work for people: An introduction to the UN- Habitat’s People-Centered Smart Cities approach

Emily Royall



Thursday, June 30, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 2
United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat)
Transforming Cities through Innovative Solutions and Technologies
TE 34


This training focuses on providing high-level information and pragmatic guidance for national and local officials to align to the principles outlined in the Centering People in Smart Cities: a playbook for national and regional governments. 

The objectives of the training include: to broaden the understanding of the people-centered approach to smart city development, appreciation for how UN frameworks and the New Urban Agenda support the people-centered smart cities programme and familiarity with each pillar of the people-centered smart city approach.

This will be an interactive training, with opportunities to exchange perspectives and network with other participants.

Click here for more information on the event and to register. We look forward to meeting you at WUF11.

This playbook was produced for UN Habitat’s People-Centered Smart Cities Flagship Programme, launched in 2020, which works to ensure that deployment of technology contributes to sustainability, inclusivity, prosperity and human rights in cities. The goal of the playbook is to provide local governments with knowledge, tools, and resources that support putting people at the center of digital transformation.

Profile of Instructor:

Emily Royall works at the intersection of urban planning, data and technology to build inclusive futures for cities. She has several years of public sector experience in digital services, data governance, community engagement, and smart city strategy. Currently, Emily manages San Antonio’s data governance strategy, a multi-stakeholder smart city partnership, and supports special projects in Digital Inclusion and Internet of Things (IoT). She is also consulting UN-Habitat on a new flagship program, “People-Centered Smart Cities.” Across her portfolio, Emily strives to deliver public services that maximize transparency, security, equity and accessibility for all. 

Emily holds a Masters in City Design & Development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a B.S. in Neuroscience, and a B.A. in Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin.


This training provides a primer on smart cities, an overview of the five pillars of the people-centered smart cities approach, and guidance for developing co-creation and public participation methods that center people in the process of smart city development. The training is broken down into segments covering each of the five pillars of a people-centered smart city: community, digital equity, infrastructure, security and capacity. Each segment will be accompanied with an interactive activity that builds upon the tools and resources made available in each playbook.

At the end of the training, participants will be expected to have broadened their:

  • Understanding of the People-Centered approach to smart city development
  • Understanding of the history and context of international smart city development
  • Understanding and awareness of major issues related to smart city development, particularly as they relate to achievement of the SDGs
  • Appreciation for how UN frameworks and the New Urban Agenda support the PCSC approach
  • Familiarity with each pillar of the People Centered Smart City approach
  • Familiarity with the 10 step approach to building people centered smart cities
  • Knowledge of how to best use all the People-Centered Smart Cities playbooks

If you have questions or would like to connect regarding the event and the programme, do not hesitate to contact or

Session speakers

Ms. Emily Royall
UN-Habitat Affiliate