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The proliferation of “Smart Cities” initiatives around the world is part of the strategic response by governments to the challenges and opportunities of increasing urbanization and the rise of cities as the nexus of societal development. As a framework for urban transformation, Smart City initiatives aim to harness Information and Communication Technologies and Knowledge Infrastructures for economic regeneration, social cohesion, better city administration and infrastructure management. However, experiences from earlier Smart City initiatives have revealed several technical, management and governance challenges arising from the inherent nature of a Smart City as a complex “Socio- technical System of Systems”. While these early lessons are informing modest objectives for planned Smart Cities programs, no rigorous developed framework based on careful analysis of existing initiatives is available to guide policymakers, practitioners, and other Smart City stakeholders. In response to this need, this paper presents a “Smart City Initiative Design (SCID) Framework” grounded in the findings from the analysis of ten major Smart Cities programs from Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Singapore, Brazil, South Korea, China and Japan. The findings provide a design space for the objectives, implementation options, strategies, and the enabling institutional and governance mechanisms for Smart City initiatives.