The city lights and opportunities have always been fascinating for all of us. Furthermore, the United Nations predicts that by 2050 over 68% of the world’s population will be living in big cities. Due to this ascending trend, urban bubbles are expanding. This means the resources on which cities rely on a daily basis like water, energy, infrastructure, environment, are becoming limited. Considering these factors, along with traffic and pollution, governments and local institutions have begun searching for alternatives. This leads naturally to technology and IoT systems integration, the point of birth for smart cities. Using smart solutions provided by IT outsourcing companies, leads to developing more sustainable, green ways to administer resources. On the same note, it didn’t take long until the idea of smart territory appeared as a complementing concept, in order to create connection and knowledge exchange between communities.
What makes a smart city
A city with efficient management, constant improvement of life quality, and environmentally sustainable is defined as a smart city. The objective of a smart city is to excel in managing resources on all levels: infrastructure, transport, services, education, healthcare, public security, energy, urbanism. The entire concept of a smart city starts with digitalization and the integration of smart technology in the administration’s system and procedures.
While the cities we live in are facing all kinds of challenges, the actual technology wave, strongly supported by the IT outsourcing industry is creating perfect opportunities for the local institutions and the private sector to shake hands and collaborate.
A study made by the Industry, Research and Energy Committee of the European Parliament in 2011, has identified 6 main characteristics of smart cities that should assure that the Europe 2020 strategy will be accomplished.
- Smart Governance
- Smart Economy
- Smart Mobility
- Smart Environment
- Smart People
- Smart Living
Guidelines for a Smart City
Changing public systems that have been conservative for decades is no simple thing to do. Sometimes smart initiatives get lost among papers and hierarchy approvals and never get to see the daylight of implementation. Nevertheless, this has been the year of accelerated technology and digitalization, whether the public sector was ready or not. As in any transformation process, the question remains: where to start? These could be a few points:
Better traffic control
We all know expanding cities come in the same package with more traffic, and parking difficulty. Redesigning infrastructure, introducing more electric buses and other green mobility options can decrease the traffic. Also, there are apps that can monitor traffic, help public transport run more efficiently, as well as parking apps that contribute to streamlining traffic-jams at rush hours.
Moving population data online
Replacing piles on papers with a few clicks online can make a huge difference in avoiding counter queues. Digitizing data can also generate reports that offer clearer results for the administration, which later on lead to informed management decisions.
From the selective collection of rubbish to recycling jukeboxes, and green mobility options (bicycles, electric scooters) offered by the local administration, all of these contribute to keeping the city environment cleaner. Also, an urbanistic redesign of the green spaces in relation to new constructions can keep a balance between nature and urban elements.
Let the citizens get involved
Smart cities are created by smart people who form smart communities. Then why not let the people get involved and suggest ideas? Some examples could be projects proposed by people from the community that are subject to vote and later implemented, or even special apps that give people the option to report local issues.
Without a doubt, the integration of technology is the main catalyst for the transformation of a city. Only by gathering relevant data, we can make informed and impactful decisions.
The good news is that Smart Cities are just the starting points for creating Smart Territories that function as a network of smart communities that share knowledge and evolve as a whole.
More on this topic in the second part of our article.
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