The global trend in urban planning is moving towards smart city (SC) development. This involves a combination of smart infrastructure, innovative technologies and the use of ‘soft assets’ to create more effective integration of the changes within each urban community. This paper outlines and analyses a framework to measure soft assets in SC implementation to assist policy discussions in urban development. The different approaches to identifying and measuring intangible or soft assets by leading researchers, practitioners, and public organizations are reviewed and evaluated. Fundamentally, intangible/soft assets are unique, and context-dependent by nature. They are powerful assets creating value and are connected to other assets to yield outcomes and impact according to alignment to SC objectives. Reviewing several approaches to measurement clearly indicates that the way intangible/soft assets are addressed differ according to different frameworks used, including the accounting framework, strength of management control, and using the assets as an integral part of knowledge management. These tools make it possible to identify, measure and understand the roles of soft assets and explain how they are intricately linked at multi-dimensional and multi-tier levels of urban development. Effective use of soft assets greatly strengthens the ability of a city administration or Local Government Unit (LGU) to provide innovative solutions and create value if the assets are optimized and aligned with the SC development goals. The value creation framework is also changed and adapted accordingly. Thus understanding SC effectiveness is increased by properly defining and providing an evaluation framework for soft assets which in turn assists policy makers and LGU administration make SCs more sustainable.
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