What Makes A Smart City?
Cities have always represented a reflection of the people, cultures and businesses that make up the whole. Cities such as London, Singapore or New York have rapidly transformed over the 20th century as technology changed. And with the 21st century bringing forward brand new problems, cities need to think innovatively, bigger and better.
Technology is forcing these changes to happen everywhere in cities, from streets to international travel. And with over 54% of people being concentrated in cities, what makes a smart city is a major question. But what sort of factors come into play when thinking of the smart cities of tomorrow?
What makes a Smart City?
As an industry, the development of smarter cities will reach the $400 billion mark by 2020 and will surge ahead. With these cities due to provide over 60% of the worlds GDP within the next 40-50 years. Cities are rapidly integrating, working together with technology linking pedestrians to their cars, homes and places of work.
Travel is rapidly sophisticating, allowing users to travel and work smarter. From walking to driving, and google maps to in-car computers that work with one another, commuting and travel are made more dynamic.
We see this happening for bus travel as well; with computers offering driverless navigation, and sensors to provide street and spatial awareness. With personal and public transport vehicles working together, users can find the best times and routes. While bus schedules are simultaneously updated as traffic flows change.
Bright Bulbs for Energy
Technology has come leaps and bounds from the advent of coin-operated meters in the UK. Consumers are able to monitor their energy consumption with minimal hassle or need for loose change. It’s one of the ways the blockchain is able to actively measure energy use.
This transformation also includes the creation of self-contained renewable energies available on an individual level. Examples include Greeneum, which allows users to put up solar panels while making money to provide more energy. Businesses are able to relay their energy use back to a smart grid, cutting costs and maximising their profits.
More recently, blockchain and technology are integrating people into systems including political developments. With cities like Berkeley allowing users to petition the government, even decentralising voting. We’ve gradually seen technology pry its way into a once closed-door political system, but blockchain and smart cities are kicking them down.