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Shaping the future of small and medium-sized cities: a framework for digital transformation

Digital transformation Future cities Quality of work life Quality of life Urban planning Brazil China Japan Singapore

Small and medium-sized cities (SMCs) are an important part of the urban system, an intermediate level between large cities and rural towns. Their functional positioning comprises four aspects: industrial development; public services; employment absorption; and population clustering.

At present, most SMCs face the challenge of slow development. In the meantime, digitalisation is disrupting traditional business models, breaking geographical and spatial boundaries, and creating new ways to live in the digital age. This process also provides opportunities for SMCs to rapidly improve their competitiveness in areas such as society, economy, governance and the environment.

SMCs are becoming important vehicles for digital transformation, and the study of digital transformation models and practices in SMCs has important social value for the world. The vision is to make cities a better place for people to live and work.

Through extensive research and in-depth interviews, this report analyses the challenges, needs and concerns of digital transformation in SMCs in China, Japan, Brazil and Singapore, proposes a methodological reference model for digital transformation in SMCs, provides reference cases from China and Japan, and suggests actions for various urban stakeholders.

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