Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a method for better analyzing the utility and impact of new technologies on smart cities. The authors have designed a tool that will evaluate new technologies according to a three-pronged scoring system that considers the impact on physical space, environmental issues and city residents. The purpose of this tool is to be used by city planners as part of a strategic approach to the implementation of a smart city initiative in order to reduce unnecessary public spending and ensure the optimal allocation of city resources. Design/methodology/approach – The information and communication technologies that manage and transform twenty-first century cities must be reviewed, analyzing their impact on new social behaviors that shape the spaces and means of communication, developing a new methodology and setting the basis for an analysis matrix to score the different and technologies that affect a smart city environment. Research limitations/implications – Traditional technological scenarios have been challenged, and smart cities have become the center of urban competitiveness. A lack of clarity has been detected in the way of describing what smart cities are, and the authors try to establish a methodology for urban policy makers to do so. As a dynamic process that affects several aspects, researchers are encouraged to test the proposed solution further. Practical implications – After a review of the state-of-the-art, the authors found that there are no existing systems for assessing smart city strategies regarding new, evolving technologies. The methodology attempts to design a simple tool to bring urban developers and policy makers closer to the technology and to have an instrument with which to compare different alternatives before choosing one. Social implications – Helped by new technologies, citizens are the ones who have the power to define new urban scenarios. For this reason the methodology the authors propose must have citizens and their needs as the ultimate reference, considering all the social, physical and environmental effects on people before selecting a new technology for urban strategies. Originality/value – This paper fulfills an identified need to study how new technologies could affect urban scenarios before being applied, developing an analysis system in the form of a matrix to be used by urban planners and policy makers to decide how best to use them.