Smart city: A collective responsibility
Urban change is advancing
Around the year 1800, only 2% of the global population lived in towns and cities. By the turn of the millennium, this figure had risen to just under half the global population, and UN estimates are predicting that three-quarters of us will be living in urban spaces by 2050. Anyone who has ever been caught in rush-hour traffic – be it on the street or on the underground – knows just how difficult it is to accommodate huge crowds of people in limited spaces. But there are problems that aren’t always obvious for city dwellers to notice at first glance, such as high consumption of resources, waste, emissions, and water pollution among others.
The vision: A sustainable digital society
The search for this vision has become known as the "Smart Cities" concept. Some German cities and councils are already collecting waste charges calculated by weight – with barcodes or RFID chips allocating bins to particular households. Before they are emptied, the bins are weighed by a sensor integrated in the bin lorry’s lift. This year’s global estimate for the number of these and similar sensors installed in traffic lights, electricity meters, water meters, ticket machines, and other relevant devices stands at 1.1 billion. There are plans to more than double the number of results-recording sensors in 2017.
Smart cities are now rapidly developing in Asia.
Smart cities as a solution against urban change challenges
The goal: Higher and sustainable living standards
By analysing this data, authorities intend to improve traffic flow, for example, which leads to less stress and fewer emissions. Energy requirements should be reduced as a result, and where possible, waste should be recycled or even converted into energy. These and additional measures should help minimise the negative impact on the environment and improve living standards, despite the growing number of city dwellers. Obviously, the intention to tackle problems such as these isn’t new – but the integration of information and communication technology is. The networked approach that promotes the idea of ‘making a real difference’ is equally new. After all, it is of little value to citizens if the electric cars they use to carpool are stuck in traffic. While local emissions may well have dropped, the quality of life hasn’t improved yet.
A no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approachNow, it is clear that there can’t be a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
What’s your position on the topic of smart cities? We would keen to hear your experience and comments.