Smart City Initiative

Globally, more than 60% of the world’s population lives in cities, more than 70% works in cities, while 80% of the world’s economic value is generated in cities. Cities are the powerhouses of growth and innovation. At the same time, cities consume more than 65% of the world’s energy and generate more than 70% of greenhouse gases. A UN report predicts that by 2050 more than two-thirds of the planet’s population will live in cities. The Agenda 2030 recognises the important role of cities and sets high development targets aiming to resolve chronic urban challenges such as transportation, energy consumption, air pollution, resilience, housing, social exclusion, etc. These trends, coupled with the impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, will inevitably affect cities in the world and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

How prepared are cities in the country to harness the potential of technology and innovation for sustainable and inclusive urban development? How ready are city governments to lead a transition towards cities of the future, which are more liveable, healthy, clean, safe, resilient, pleasant to live in and offering diverse economic and cultural opportunities? Can technology help leapfrog development? Looking in more depth into these questions prompted the initiation of the Smart Sarajevo Initiative.

Smart cities around the world utilise the intelligence of their communities and businesses to create and adopt technology-based solutions to overcome challenges and seize opportunities that help transform “the city we call home” to a prosperous and liveable place for all residents.

Smart Sarajevo Journey Begins

Based on priorities set by 1,300 citizens of Sarajevo, 23 innovative ideas and projects were submitted within the "Smart Sarajevo" Initiative, implemented by UNDP and Sarajevo City, in partnership with the Municipality Stari Grad and Canton Sarajevo.

Project Goals

The Smart Sarajevo Initiative is a 15-month project launched in December 2018. It is among the pioneer “smart city” projects in the country, implemented by UNDP in partnership with the City of Sarajevo, the Municipality of Stari Grad and Canton Sarajevo.

The Project aims to catalyse interest within the community, stimulate collaboration among public, private and civic stakeholders and leverage local intellect that translates into a portfolio of innovative ideas contributing to a smarter and more liveable city. This initiative looks at technology and digitalisation as means to advance public service delivery and encourage smart urban economy. Yet, the “smartness” in the project goes beyond slick digital interfaces, mobile apps and big data. It is about people, their wellbeing and quality of life. Bringing the notion of the future cities closer to the residents, business and authorities and offering possibility to collectively re-imagine the city – this is what this initiative is all about.

A pilot city area (2 km2), entirely within Municipality of Stari Grad, is where pilot projects will be implemented. A city zone, which will not only enable a more integrated implementation of the selected projects but will also be a demonstration of solutions that can be taken to scale.

Main Results

  • The City Mind Lab was established in December 2018 as a voluntary, self-organized, multi-disciplinary group of professionals, residents of Sarajevo, who are the brainpower behind the Initiative. The City Mind Lab counts more than 120 members who meet informally to build connections, opportunities, and advise on next steps toward inclusive futures for Sarajevo.
  • In March 2019 we asked residents of Sarajevo to identify the top three challenges facing the city. More than 1,300 people responded to the on-line survey and stated as the most burning city issues air pollution, poor public transportation and corruption.
  • In April 2019, the Project invited the private sector to ideate for smart city projects and partnerships. More than 30 businesses (IT sector, innovators, commercial banks, hotels, innovation labs, telecommunications, arts and crafts, etc.) engaged in the design of people-centred smart city ideas.
  • The Project launched a public call for innovative proposals aiming to stimulate design and implementation of a portfolio of technology-based solutions that address the city challenges and produce measurable positive impacts on the citizens, while inviting collaborative action among multi-sectoral city stakeholders to co-design blueprint solutions that contribute to a smart city. In total, 35 proposals were submitted – a first generation of future city proposals suggesting innovative solutions in the areas of real-time air pollution measuring, monitoring; smart urban mobility solutions and electric vehicles; smart public transport systems; smart parking and lighting; smart and inclusive theatre, etc. The proposals are coming from the private sector and non-governmental organisations working in partnership with utility companies, academia, etc.
  • The Project launched the Consul platform - a dynamic citizen participation tool for an open, transparent and inclusive project application and selection process. The platform was designed by the City of Madrid and has been embraced by more than 100 cities globally, helping connect more than 90 million of citizens with their governments. The City of Sarajevo joined this global community for the very first online participatory proposal selection process in the history of Sarajevo. All project applications submitted under the Call for Proposals are available to the public.  The tool was also very successful in mobilising citizen’s voices for their preferred project applications. Their voice was factored in in the selection process.
  • A public presentation of the short-listed project proposals was organised in the City Hall in the end of August 2019. More than 350 citizens joined the event to listen to the proposals.
  • A “IT Girls for Smart City” summer school was organised in partnership with the IT Girls Initiative (UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women) for 24 girls who were interested to deepen their knowledge in the areas of coding and robotics. The summer school helped connect these areas with the smart cities (or cities of the future) and supported the design and delivery of a new learning programme based on ICT, coding and robotics, but offering knowledge on the smart city. This unique learning programme was organized in collaboration with School & School private educational facility. The learning journey was highly interactive, encouraging teamwork, building self-confidence, as well as nurturing a forward-looking perspective on how technology can contribute to building future cities. In the end, girls transformed some of their good ideas into practical smart city solutions.

Goals Moving Forward

  • Implement the portfolio of smart city projects and partner with the Accelerator Lab to identify possibilities to scale up.
  • Capitalise and build on the results of the pilot initiative and develop a larger future cities intervention that will engage other motivated cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Geographic coverage



UNDP, Innovation Facility

Focus area



City of Sarajevo

Municipality of Stari Grad

Canton Sarajevo