Smith has tried to implement innovative ideas in her ward, employing new alternative energy and flood control technology. The city’s first water permeable alley was installed in her ward, the system allows for rain gardens to divert water from the sewer system.
In 2000, Smith helped organize the funding for Walkable Edgewater. Her leadership earned an award from the Chicago Civic Federation and a Soles and Spokes award from the Chicago Area Transportation Study. Additionally, Smith was an early supporter of the Human Rights Ordinance and the Domestic Partner Ordinance.
As a member of the city council, Smith is Chairperson on the Parks and Recreation Committee. Smith serves on seven additional committees: Budget and Government Operations; Buildings; Committees, Rules and Ethics; Finance; Historical Landmark Preservation; License and Consumer Protection; and Traffic Control and Safety.
In 2005 Smith was instrumental in the controversial decision to open Rickover Naval Academy in the facilities of Senn High School. This decision met with intense opposition from residents and anti-war activists concerned about military recruitment of the community's poor.
In 2006 Smith worked with PETA to craft the Elephant Protection Ordinance, which mandates humane treatment of elephants within the City.. She also appeared in the documentary Uptown: Portrait of a Palace about Chicago's Uptown Theatre.