Making a city “smart” is a strategy that is emerging to decrease the problems generated by rapid urbanization and population growth.
It is important to say that this new term is being actually discussed so it is in constant revision.
As you may know, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities.
This big change from primarily rural to primarily urban population is expected to increase in the years to come.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, 2008 was the year when more than 50% of all people, 3.3 billion, lived in cities.
By 2030 this number is likely to increase to around 5 billion.
What makes a City Smart?
Cities face a variety of risks and challenges. Scarcity of resources, poor air quality, transportation, human health concerns, problems in waste management, deteriorating infrastructures are some of the technical problems that also generate social issues along the way.
To be able to provide better living conditions, many cities around the world are working to find smarter ways to manage them.
Some cities are identified to work in a smarter way to be able to solve the ongoing concerns.
Actually, recent good practices have turn into examples for other cities. One way to identify a smart city is under the eye of sustainability and livability.
What makes a city smart?
– A city that performs in a forward-looking way in aspects such as economy, people, governance, environment, mobility built on the basis of self-organization and independent citizens with their own voice.
– A city that is sustainable, efficient, equitable, and livable.
– A city that develops and uses computing technologies to interconnect its components and services more efficiently – this includes education, healthcare, public safety, real state, transportation, urban design, city administration. See these popular urban documentaries for more ideas on how it can be achieved.
– A city that is able to connect its physical infrastructure and business infrastructure to improve the intelligence of the city
– A city that monitors the conditions of all its critical infrastructures (bridges, roads, tunnels, rails, subways, etc) optimizing its resources and maximizing services to its citizens
– A city that speeds up bureaucratic processes and designs better city management in order to improve sustainability and livability.
– A city that promotes and informs sustainable travel practices to all it’s visitors – both locally and internationally.
– A city that is interconnected and collects real-world data through the use of sensors, personal devices, appliances, smartphones, web, cameras to make better planning decisions.
How can a city be SMART?
: It is represented by a collection of technologies, people, policies, practices, resources, social norms, and information that interact to support governing activities. These government services are enabled over interactive mobile and web platforms. Key elements in this aspect are participation, partnership, transparency, collaboration, and communication.
: “A new generation of integrated hardware, software, and network technologies that provide IT systems with real-time awareness of the real world and advanced analytics to help people make more intelligent decisions about alternatives and actions that will optimize business processes and business balance sheet results”. Washburn, D., Sindhu, U., Balaouras, S., Dines, R. A., Hayes, N. M., & Nelson, L. E. (2010)
: citizens are a vital part of the city, without them, everything would be pointless. Smart cities must fulfill and balance the needs of various communities. After all, urban projects have a direct impact on the quality of life of citizens. To become active users people should be informed and participate in more active governance.
: A competitive city is thought to have one of the properties of a smart city. This includes aspects such as innovation, entrepreneurship, productivity, trademarks, the flexibility of the labor market, and integration in the national and global market.
: the use of technology is expected to increase sustainability and manage resources in a more efficient way. Protecting infrastructure and natural resources will be key to achieving sustainability goals.
: in order to achieve sustainable city, a smart city must offer an integrated and intelligent infrastructure network, Medellin is a great example of this.
Also, emission-free transport would allow seamless, efficient, and flexible travel across various modes. Smart mobility working together with technology would reduce wasted time in congestions.