The BSI smart city standards are almost a decade old. KnowNow CTO Chris Cooper was one of a diverse cross-industry, public sector and academic community that came up with these standards. These became known as the PAS180 series.  A recent blog from Allan Mayo (of Digital Greenwich and a fellow standards author) termed them the ‘Wainwrights’ of standards – a very apt description. 

A number of webinars that Chris has been part of have recently been posted on the web for posterity.  The contribution from Chris (representing BSI) has been focused on why applying standards makes a community’s projects more successful and impactful.  

These sessions have received positive feedback because of the step-by-step method used by Chirs to tell the story of how projects can use the PAS180 series standards as a framework for ensuring successful outcomes. 

This has led to some really good material being published on the web.  This blog is a guide to where you can find this material on standards. 

1. City-to-city dialogue session for the Global Futures Cities Programme.

Sharing data-oriented experiences and knowledge among cities within the Global Future Cities Programme

In order to foster knowledge exchange and enable network creation amongst cities with an interest in data, UN-Habitat organized the City-to-City Dialogue session “Sharing data-oriented experiences and knowledge among cities within the Global Future Cities Programme”. The event was part of the capacity building component of the GFCP, which has been implemented by UN-Habitat in partnership with the UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG).

The session took place online on the 28th of January, 2021 and attracted over 100 participants, including Local Authorities, Delivery Partners and specialists from the different cities of the Global Future Cities Programme. This report provides the main takeaways and details from the presentations.

“Governance is about making sure that you work together and have a good alignment of outcomes linked to visions and principles, creating space for discussion. You might find that where the city wants to get to is outside of the visions and principles. But how to discuss that? The principles are not static, so the standards facilitate the discussion.” 

Strategic Capacity Development Component

The strategic capacity development component forms part of the UK Global Future Cities Prosperity Fund Programme. It is being developed by the strategic and capacity development partner, the UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG) in close collaboration with UN Habitat. The aim of the strategic capacity development component is to complement the other elements of the Global Future Cities Programme, to consider some of the barriers and enablers to sustainable urbanisation and to help ensure the programme’s long-term impact.

The Thematic Programme will be delivered by a range of subject matter experts and is intended to provide a foundational programme introducing each of the five themes, combined with practical examples from the field. The Thematic Programme will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about each of the themes and reflect on the capacity development needs in their own City.

2. Governance & Collaboration


Drawing on extensive policy research together with the international standard for sustainable cities and communities (ISO37106), this session will consider the importance of achieving alignment between sectoral priorities and policies together with effective collaboration between different tiers of government, ministries, and departments. The session will be facilitated by the International Growth Centre and the British Standards Institution together with practical experience from Bristol City Council.

Whole-of-government coordination mechanisms are fundamental to avoid divergences between sectoral priorities and policies while promoting mutually supporting actions across different sectors and institutions. Good governance and collaboration are vital components of effective policy delivery, especially in urban planning, which requires active coordination and engagement from so many different parts of government, and stakeholder groups. Vertical alignment between different tiers of government (e.g. National, Regional, Metropolitan, City and District) is essential, as is horizontal alignment and integration between ministries and departments (e.g. energy, housing, land-use, transport etc) and other partners. Organisational structures, processes and systems also need to support integration and alignment.

Top Left Allan Macleod (Bristol City); Top Right: Peter Oborn (UK BEAG/RIBA); 

Bottom Left: Shahrukh Wani (International Growth Centre); Bottom Right: Chris Cooper

3. Evidence-based Design & the Effective use of Data

18 February – Session 4: Evidence-based Design & the Effective use of Data


Evidence based design is a key component in achieving better city outcomes. It relies upon the systematic gathering of both qualitative and quantitative information together with its rigorous and methodical integration, interrogation, and application. Evidence based design helps us to learn lessons from the past and so be more responsive to future needs. It encourages and enables greater citizen engagement and is used to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and enhance quality of life. Used properly, it helps to promote collaboration and transcend political cycles while increasing transparency and accountability.

To accommodate the nature, scale, and complexity of the issues to be tackled in today’s cities, evidence-based design, together with day-to-day city management, increasingly relies upon the use of large-scale computer-based datasets which may be held centrally in some form of local information system, often in the form of a data observatory which may be developed in partnership with others. The development of such systems also requires consideration to be given to a range of associated issues such as data platforms, data standards, information security, data protection and privacy etc. The availability of large-scale integrated datasets creates opportunities for innovation and improvements in service delivery, which, in turn, call for new skills in service design.

Building on the international standard for sustainable cities and communities (ISO37106), this session will consider the importance of evidence-based design and data as a prerequisite for developing and delivering citizen centric applications that will achieve meaningful cost benefit and service level improvement. The session will be facilitated jointly by the British Standards Institution and Smart London

Top Right: Chris Cooper ; Top Left: Peter Oborn (UK BEAG/RIBA); 

Bottom Left: Victoria Delbridge (International Growth Centre); Bottom Right: Nathan Pierce (Greater London Authority & Sharing Cities)

Smart Standards and Open Data

In this podcast Chris is highlighting the impact of having the opportunity to influence the standards that are adopted in the world.   

Chris participated in this Smart Community podcast hosted by Zoe Eather in February 2019 (episode 92)

Image link for Smart Standards and Open Data with Chris Cooper from the Smart Community Podcast. Cartoon drawing of a happy looking community