Smart cities are becoming popular in several countries. The working of such cities are appreciable wonderful. They incorporate technology for solving various issues.
Today, we are going to dive deep into smart cities.
What is smart city?
- In general, a smart city is a city that uses technology to provide services and solve city problems.
- A smart city does things like improve transportation and accessibility, improve social services, promote sustainability, and give its citizens a voice.
- While the exact definition varies, the overarching mission of a smart city is to optimize city functions and drive economic growth while improving quality of life for its citizens using smart technology and data analysis.
- Value is given to the smart city based on what they choose to do with the technology, not just how much technology they may have.
We will see the characteristics of smart city in the next section.
Components of smart city
Several major characteristics are used to determine a city’s smartness. These characteristics include:
- Adequate Water Supply
- Assured Electricity Supply
- Sanitation, including Solid Waste Management
- Efficient Urban Mobility and Public Transport
- Affordable housing, especially for the poor
- Robust IT connectivity and digitalization
- Good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
- Sustainable environment
- Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly, and
- Health and Education
Let’s move on to the section to explain about what makes a city smart.
What makes a city smart?
- We need a fresh way of thinking about what makes a smart city smart.
- The essence of a smart city is its ability to adapt to the challenges the environment presents-its capacity to evolve and if necessary to transform itself.
- That capacity is enhanced or limited by the resources it has at its disposal. But it is the capacity to adapt that marks a city as smart, not a particular category of resources — in particular, technologies — it can deploy to do so.
- Identifying smart cities with innovative adaption means that smart cities are not creations or manifestations of the technological revolution.
Its time to look at the basic resources of smart cities.
The Basic Resources of Smart Cities
- Smart cities embrace risk and reward innovation and exploration and foster a culture that encourages human ingenuity and imagination.
- The need to innovate and adapt puts pressure on cities to create and nurture a culture of freedom and creativity.
- But all the individual wisdom, creative imagination, self-confidence and capacity to take risk won’t do much to meet the challenges we face without mechanisms that channel these capacities into collaborative efforts.
- The burden is not simply to create the conditions for key human capacities to develop and mature.
- The burden is to create mechanisms that turn ideas into plans and plans into effective collective actions that produce desirable and sustainable outcomes.
Also read: Applications of GPS
In the next section, I will walk you through the challenges of smart city.
Smart city challenges
- Smart city initiatives must include the people they aim to help: residents, business people and visitors.
- City leaders must not only raise awareness of the benefits of the smart city technologies being implemented but also promote the use of open, democratized data to its citizens.
- If people know what they are participating in and the benefits it can bring, they are more likely to engage.
- Fostering collaboration between the public and private sector and city residents is key to creating a smart citizen who will be engaged and empowered to positively contribute to the city and community.
- Smart city projects should include plans to make the data transparent and available to citizens, often through an open data portal or mobile app.
- This enables residents to engage with the data and understand what it is used for.
- Through a smart city app, residents may also be able to complete personal chores, such as viewing their home’s energy consumption, paying bills and finding efficient public transportation.
- Smart city opponents worry that city managers will not keep data privacy and security top of mind, fearing the exposure of the data that citizens produce on a daily basis to the risk of hacking or misuse.
- Additionally, the presence of sensors and cameras may be perceived as an invasion of privacy or government surveillance.
- To address this, smart city data collected should be anonymized and not be personally identifiable information.
- However, perhaps the biggest challenge smart cities face is the problem of connectivity.
- The thousands or millions of IoT devices scattered across the city would be defunct without a solid connection and the smart city itself would be dead.
- Furthermore, public transit, traffic management, public safety, water and waste management, electricity and natural gas supply can be unreliable, especially as a system ages and grows.
- However, the importance of these operations will only increase as the city expands and the demands on its infrastructure increase.
- These systems must be constantly maintained and tested to ensure their proper functioning.
- Smart cities are also challenged by finding ways to attract and keep residents without a cultural fabric.
- The cultural essence of an area is oftentimes what attracts residents the most; this is something that cannot be programmed or controlled with a sensor.
- Therefore, smart cities may falter because they cannot provide a sense of authenticity, distinctiveness or place.
Finally, let me show you some examples of smart cities.
Examples of smart cities
While many cities across the world have started implementing smart technologies, a few stand out as the furthest ahead in development. These cities include:
- Kansas City, Missouri
- San Diego, California
- Columbus, Ohio
- New York City, New York
- Toronto, Canada
- Vienna, Austria
- Barcelona, Spain
- Tokyo, Japan
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- London, England
- Melbourne, Australia
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Hong Kong, China
So, we took a quick trip through different aspects of a smart city. Let me know in comments if you have any doubts.