Evolution & perspectives of smart cities in latin america: Chile


The organization and administrative responsibility of its cities -shared among regions, provinces and communal structures- influences its technological development

Chile has played a significant leadership role in Latin America and in the whole world, in terms of the introduction of Information and Communication Technologies in Public Administration Management. The following assessments clearly show the aforementioned leadership position:

Chile Graphic


As for Santiago de Chile (the capital city), its leadership as a sustainable, competitive and smart city has been shown in the last few years:


SC Chile


The positions (out of 135 cities) reached by Santiago de Chile in each of the dimensions assessed by the IESE Cities in Motion Index 20143 are shown below:

Chile Graphic 2In the IESE Cities in Motion assessment, Santiago de Chile showed significant improvement in the economy, governance and public management areas. In the areas involving human capital and technology, the city positioned itself in places 127 and 102, out of the 135 qualified cities.

In the recent report by the Fundación País Digital in Chile, devoted to the progress of smart cities in Chile, Santiago reached the first position in the country in four out of the six evaluated components: mobility, government, economy and society; it positioned itself in the third place in the two remaining components: environment and quality of life.

The study supports the results of the IESE Cities in Motion assessment, about Santiago de Chile falling behind in the introduction of Information and Communication Technologies for urban management.

Third chapter, third city

In the third chapter on the Evolution and Perspectives of Smart Cities in Latin America, we will review the advances and good practices of smart territory in Santiago de Chile; in order to understand their relevance and their level of coordination, they were organized according to the five (5) analysis components present in the Manual.gob10 methodology: institutional capacity, legal framework, technology management, smart services and relationship to users.
1 Institutional capacity: A public policy on smart cities already exists, and/or a government branch or office is created to draw up and manage the smart territory strategy or program.

1 Institutional capacity: A public policy on smart cities already exists, and/or a government branch or office is created to draw up and manage the smart territory strategy or program.

Cities in Chile are organized in territories called regions, provinces and communal structures. Santiago is located in the Región Metropolitana (Metropolitan Region) or Gran Santiago (Greater Santiago)11. From an administrative point of view, the region is divided into six provinces: Santiago, Chacabuco, Maipo, Cordillera, Talagante and Melipilla. The provinces are made up of a total of 52 communal structures.

Several mechanisms of institutional coordination are already available in the Metropolitan Region, such as the Intendente, the Gobierno Regional (Regional Government) and the Consejo Regional Metropolitano (CORE) (Metropolitan Regional Council). Nevertheless, as stated in the Report Ranking of Smart Cities in Chile 2014, “no city councils with resources and political relevance from a city point of view -which would be necessary to generate strategies and introduce projects at a city scale- currently exist in Chile. Evidence shows that this shortage of intercommunal coordination results in the lack of smart and integrated solutions”.

The Metropolitan Region of Gran Santiago has neither a regional programme for smart territory nor an office or agency in charge of deploying it. Nevertheless, the Estrategia Regional de Innovación 2012-2016 (Regional Innovation Strategy, 2012-2016) was adopted back in December 2012 by the Metropolitan Regional Council in Santiago. The Strategy is an instrument to maximize the existing resources, and it comprises the following guidelines:

  • Strengthen institutions in order to coordinate regional innovation and cooperation between regions.- Foster a cooperative society by creating cooperation networks and introducing cross-cutting innovative activities. 
  • Promote an innovative and entrepreneurial economy in a sustainable development framework.
  • Widen the Regional Innovation Strategy.

2 Legal framework: A regulatory framework is defined so that Information and Communication Technologies may be used as tools and platforms for public administration and city management.

No regulations were identified, from a territorial point of view (either region, province or communal structure), supporting either a smart territory/smart city programme or strategy.

Solutions table

3 Technology management: Actions are defined to efficiently introduce Information and Communication Technologies in territory management.

Smarcity Santiago is the first prototype of a smart city to be developed in Chile. The project was launched in July 2014, and is lead by the company Chilectra13 which is located in the Parque de Negocios Ciudad Empresarial, in the communal structure of Huechuraba in the Metropolitan Region. Smarcity Santiago focuses on checking several smart city technologies in an integrated manner. The project includes several technologic solutions, as the ones listed below:


4 Smart services: Conditions are created to improve and increase the available information and ICT-based services for citizens and companies.

The main smart city services currently being developed in Santiago de Chile in terms of environment and mobility are described below:



Until the year 2014, 37 LEED-certified projects (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) were developed. The communal structure of Las Condes, with a total of 9 projects, takes the lead in sustainable building development.


Users of the public transport service Transantiago may have access to real-time service information provided by mobile applications, such as Moovit 14, text messages and 70 variable information panels. It should be noted that the Subsecretaría de Transporte del Gobierno Nacional de Chile (the Vice Ministry for Transport in the Chilean government) is currently developing the Estrategia Ciudad Inteligente para el Transporte Chile 202015 (Smart City Strategy for Transport Chile 2020). The Strategy will include 15 cities, supported by a Plan para Arquitectura Nacional de Sistemas Inteligentes de Transporte (Plan for National Architecture of Smart Transport Systems), integrating new regulations, an open-data policy, the creation of collaborative ecosystems and the performance of pilot experiments with open data in five cities in the year 2016.

As for smart city services, the Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones del Gobierno Nacional de Chile16, (Vice Ministry for Telecommunications in the Chilean government) initiated, back in August 2014, government dialogues for the generation of a smart city vision in Chile and set up a permanent application that brings the “Smart City” concept into aligment.


5 Relationship to users: Actions or initiatives are established in order to engage citizens in the development of knowledge society and in the solution of public affairs.

No open government policy or strategy was identified for Santiago de Chile, and neither were any citizen participation policies or strategies. No open data portal has been created for the city, as is further confirmed by the Report Ranking on Smart Cities in Chile 2014: “In spite of the national transparency level shown by the Ministry for Modernization, the low level of «smart governments» in communal structures and cities all over the country has been striking. Aspects such as open data, on-line services and Wi-Fi areas are clearly underdeveloped in Chile, as compared to other cities in the same region. Chile, with its Digital Agenda, should focus on the development of smart governments from a local point of view (communal structure and city)”.

It should be noted that the National Government in Chile has an open data policy and an open government data portal.




The economic leadership of Chile in Latin America -along with the steps forward taken by the National Government in terms of electronic government and open government- are two opportunities for regions, provinces and communal structures in Chile to make the most of, in order to contribute to the development of smart territories and cities. Despite the leadership position in the rankings cited in the current article, Santiago de Chile has not provided evidence of advance or mature practices regarding the use of Information and Communication Technologies in fundamental city aspects which could be replicated or emulated in other areas. Perhaps the main weakness found in the current case study was the lack of a roadmap, agenda or action plan for a Smart City in Santiago de Chile that guarantees constant, measurable and sustainable advances in this area. The situation may be explained by the administrative organization and responsibility of Chilean cities, which is shared among regions, provinces and communal structures.


We use our own and third-party cookies to enable and improve your browsing experience on our website. If you go on surfing, we will consider you accepting its use.