top of page

I work at the intersection of public administration and technology to build inclusive futures for cities.

I'm a public servant and technologist working to advance ethics and inclusion in smart cities.  

I believe people should be at the center of smart cities, and my work focuses on creating greater public oversight over smart city technologies and the data that powers them.


Currently I am Smart City Administrator at the Office of Innovation at the City of San Antonio.

I manage the Smart Cities division and Smarter Together initiative that uses a community-driven framework to shape the city's investments in emerging technology for delivering public services.


Previously, I've worked on smart city projects in government and academic settings both domestically and internationally for groups like City Form Labs, the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, and UN Habitat's People Centred Smart Cities Program. Locally, I was Data Director for the digitally native non-profit newsroom, the San Antonio Report.

Currently, I am Policy Co-Chair of the GovAI Coalition, a coalition of over 140 public agencies working towards responsible AI. I also serve as Vice Chair for United for Smart & Sustainable Communities (U4SSC), a joint initiative of the UN Habitat and ITU. 

I received a B.S. Neuroscience and B.A. Plan II Arts at the University of Texas at Austin,and a Masters in City Design & Development from MIT DUSP.

Recent articles:

"Smart city 'sandbox' lets San Antonio residents play with technology" - Smart Cities Dive

"San Antonio succeeds by putting people at the center of smart cities." - Digi.City

"San Antonio presents 'community driven' smart cities roadmap." - CitiesToday

"Building a People-Centered Smart City: San Antonio alignts tech with resident and staff input." - The Atlas

"Move smart and build things: defining digital rights for a changing world," Smart Cities News

"San Antonio is getting Serious about Data Governance" - StateScoop

Find me in the usual places:
LinkedIn | @emily_royall

Download my CV.

Stuff I work on

  • Co-chair Policy Working Group of the GovAI coalition delivering streamlined policy, guiding principles, and governance through consensus building across 100+ US city governments. (2024)

  • Supervised a team of 4, execution of 30 smart city projects, and managed a 7.9M USD budgeted municipal Smart Cities Program. (2023)

  • Led team to develop and launch City of San Antonio Smart Cities Strategy and Smarter Together initiative. (2023)

  • Primary Author on six Playbooks for UN Habitat's People-Centered Smart City Program. (2022)

  • Led a two-day training on people-centered smart cities for 25 city leaders representing ten African local governments in partnership with ASToN. (2022)

  • Led City of San Antonio team on “Smart Streetlight” IoT pilot with local utility, impacting 119K nodes. (2021)

  • Developed and executed the City of San Antonio’s first Data Governance Policy “AD 7.12”, including “Principles of Data-Informed Government.

  • Negotiated 8 utility & public sector orgs to execute Data Sharing Protocol for SmartSA Interlocal Datasharing Agreement resulting in increased public sector data sharing. (2021)

  • Co-developed San Antonio's Digital Divide Assessment and Digital Inclusion Initiatives (2020)

  • Led interdepartmental team to develop and launch City of San Antonio CoVID-19 Open Data Platform. (2020)

  • Created and managed the “SmartSA Sandbox” smart cities community engagement program, partnering with 25 agencies to provide over 2,000 youth and families access to free STEM education activities, and to opportunities to provide input to municipal smart city policy.

  • Led Civic Technology Program “CivTechSA” Year 2 with 50 challenges, 15+ community events, and two Municipal Residency Programs for local technology start-ups. (2019)

  • Authored 75+ data analytics articles for local news outlet, the San Antonio Report. (2018)

  • Completed Master’s thesis at MIT using Markov Modeling to predict gentrification in four Boroughs in New York City. (2016)

  • Developed a new data-driven planning norm for the provision of commercial facilities in Singapore Housing Authority’s (HDB) public housing towns. (2015)

  • Conducted and managed participatory planning workshops engaging 50-60 city government members, professional planning practitioners, and academics, working collaboratively as part of the City Planning Lab Initiative in Indonesia. (2014)

  • Supported municipal staff to launch a City Planning Laboratory in Denpasar, Indonesia including support with geospatial mapping and participatory planning to improve municipal services in informal settlements. (2014)





  • Royall, Emily. “Planning for Digitally Mediated Public Space: Policy Implications for Internet of Things Frameworks in Urban Environments” Responsive Cities Symposium, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, 2016.

Public Speaking & Podcasts


Get in touch

bottom of page