Where Do Smart Cities Go from Here?

The percentage of people living in cities is expected to rise from its current 64% in the developing world to 86% in the developed world by 2050.

Cities globally are witnessing a surge in population, necessitating the enhancement of infrastructure and services. Following one of the most challenging periods of the last century, the concept of smart cities is becoming increasingly pertinent, however, governments need to be equipped with the necessary resources and technology to successfully navigate the shift in circumstances caused by the pandemic.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, smart cities will provide a platform for people to regain their footing, albeit at a gradual pace.

Problems with “Normal” Urban Settings

When compared to what, exactly, are the problems with “normal” cities? As long as we live in the past, nothing will change.

In recent years, there has been a significant rise in remote working, a transformation in the way we communicate, a dramatic surge in the utilization of appliances and technology, and numerous other changes in the status quo, not to mention the global pandemic.

Due to the continual development of technology and changes in our society, it is necessary to explore different ways of thinking, behaving, and interacting. Intelligent urban planning is essential to this process. It is thus essential to find a way to make this approach more agile.

Exactly what is meant by the term “Smart City?”

The infrastructure of a smart city is comprised of “smart” technology and developments such as:

The Internet of Things
• Cloud computing
• Artificial intelligence

Urban centers can use this model to craft environments that support and drive their communities, while also addressing the needs and desires of their inhabitants. One example of the advances that contribute to the concept of a smart city is an energy-efficient smart grid, as well as autonomous vehicles and other technologies that can help people achieve their goals more effectively every day.

A poll conducted by Oracle, surveying officials from 82 nations and 167 cities, revealed that 65% deemed smart cities to be of great importance to their respective objectives.

Where do we go from here, and what do we see in the future?

Technologists, innovators, leaders and governments must collaborate in order to meet the needs of communities and the global population as smart city initiatives become increasingly prominent across the world.

Incorporation of Long-Term Effects

Smart towns are utilizing “green technology” in order to benefit the environment. This technology allows for the monitoring of energy consumption, air quality and other key factors that help to reduce waste and promote sustainability.

There are a number of smart city developments that contribute to a greener future, like smart thermostats and energy networks.

Inclusion and Fairness

It is clear that there are many complex factors that need to be considered when it comes to environmental issues. In particular, it is important to recognize the impact of diversity and equality. For example, statistics show that black Americans are more likely to live in crowded and polluted urban areas than white Americans, at a rate of 2.5 times higher.

Many initiatives to develop smart cities are driven by the aspiration to promote diversity and fairness. Leaders are exploring methods to enhance the quality of life for diverse populations and address the issues they face.

Establishing a Sense of Belonging

Connectivity is an essential element of smart city initiatives, which seek to promote public trust and encourage citizen engagement by enabling open communication between communities, authorities, and ecosystems. Technological advancements are a key factor in achieving this.

Kiran Jain, Head of Policy and General Counsel for Replica, a company spinoff of Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, suggests that practitioners within the smart cities movement should strive to gain and regain public trust through transparency and a commitment to privacy – a crucial element for the advancement of the movement.

Smart City Issues and Solutions

Smart cities can bring many benefits, however they can also present certain challenges. When governments attempt to progress too quickly or lack the necessary data and technology infrastructure, complications can arise.

Jeremy M. Goldberg, Director of Critical Infrastructure at WWPS, suggests that government officials always remember these three guidelines:

For the sake of the people, we must construct
• Enabling creativity
• Solving real problems

Pay Attention to the Important Numbers

He emphasizes the importance of basing critical decisions on evidence and highlights the complexity of cities. To gain meaningful insights, it is essential to gather and process large amounts of data and to access computing resources quickly. In order to make informed decisions, decision-makers must have access to reliable information and ensure they engage with members of the community.

Data-driven decisions are essential for the evolution and advancement of smart cities. They are paramount for the prosperity of communities and the implementation of necessary infrastructure.

Form Alliances

Co-operation between businesses and organizations will be key in achieving the success of smart city initiatives. These projects require substantial initial investment but offer the potential for considerable economic rewards. Through public-private partnerships, the development of smart cities may be sustained over the long-term. Forging alliances between, for example, governments and digital companies could create an environment which encourages innovation and longevity.

Establish Credibility

Establishing trust with residents and business partners is crucial to building a smart city that will last.

Trustworthiness and transparency are just some of the standards that must be upheld. Safety is of paramount importance, and it is understandable that the public may have concerns about the security of their personal data when making online purchases or engaging in other digital activities.

The Dutch Data Protection Agency released guidelines to ensure the security of smart cities and protect citizens’ personal data, likely due to the potential implications this technology could have.

The key to a sustainable smart city, one that lasts into the indefinite future, will turn out to be security and standards.

Smart City Technology Is More Accessible Than You Might Think

Amsterdam. Barcelona. Boston. Chicago. Copenhagen. Dubai. London. Big Apple, Big Apple. Singapore.

These are just a few examples of “smart” cities that are currently in existence, and the number of such places is continually increasing. Governments are reinvesting in their infrastructure as they realize that their citizens are the backbone of their cities, and the pandemic is gradually becoming a distant memory. People are starting to realize that the concept of “smart cities” is more than just a passing trend.

The importance of the potential benefits cannot be overstated. It is entirely possible to attain the desired outcomes, which could lead to a better quality of life, safety and sustainability for future generations.

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