Many different cities have applied smart technology to improve the day-to-day of their citizens, avoid unnecessary costs and foster efficiency in their resource management. In our Smart Cities top 10 we analyze the challenges that many cities around the world have overcome by using technology to address their specific problems.
The capital of Denmark, with a little over 600,000 inhabitants, set itself up to act as a test lab where the implementation of smart processes leads to a more habitable and sustainable city.
Their Smart City plan
In 2016, Copenhagen announced that it would become the first city in the world to implement a Big Data system to manage public and private information. The main goal is to generate a zero-emissions city within the next few years, though this data centre is also used for business innovation and more efficient management.
Between 2015 and 2019, the city developed an environment in the capital city known as EnergyLab to demonstrate, in the neighborhood of Nordhavn, how electricity, heating and sustainable transportation can be integrated into an optimized system.
2. New York
The Big Apple is home to over 8.5 million people. In this urban center, traffic, rush hour commuting and a more egalitarian supply and social system were some of the challenges that needed to be overcome. The city, which contains some of the leading technology companies in the world, is among the top 10 Smart Cities due to its relentless smart technology advancements.
Some proposed solutions in NYC
The LinkNYC network was implemented to foster more egalitarian access to technology, which replaces phone booths with fast, free Wi-Fi access points to learn about the city services. Regarding traffic, the city implemented the Midtown in Motion program to manage downtown rush hours. Using speed sensors and a data centre managed by urban traffic engineers, they have managed to improve commuting times by 10%.
The water supply has also benefited from smart processes through the generation of systems that centralize home consumption data, while allowing users to know their readings in real time, as well as pay their bills online.
Amsterdam has its own idiosyncrasy in many aspects. It is included among the top 10 Smart Cities due to its novel way to address problems.
Advancing toward a sustainable Smart City
Since 2004, Amsterdam has been in contact with a Chief Technology Official who has implemented several initiatives. Among the most expected we can find the generation of an automated bicycle sharing system.
In addition, an iterative way of working has been highly valued, testing projects as a prototype to then add improvements, as is the case of garbage collection in the city, or the payment of parking spaces by phone instead of parking meters.
A novelty, they implemented the Beautiful Noise project to listen to the needs of the citizenry and the massive number of tourists that visit the city each year. This system analyzes the photos and comments posted on social networks to know the status of some places and services in real time.
4. Athens: solutions for an indebted city
The capital of Greece has been inducted among the top 10 Smart Cities thanks to its ability to deal with several problems through the use of smart technology. At the turn of the decade, and after the 2008 financial crisis, the city was in debt and the prestige of its institutions had crumbled, which was compounded by a highly inefficient management.
Collaboration toward a Smart City
Athens decided to implement urban management improvements. To this end, it created the position of Chief Digital Officer while seeking the assistance of academic institutions and experts from different sectors who worked together to generate a Smart City plan.
Concurrently, they used the potential of smart processes to gather and address complaints by the citizens, so as to boost the confidence in institutions. Its most lauded initiatives included its senior citizen digital skill training schools.
As a result, the European Commission awarded Athens the European Capital of Innovation award in 2018, recognizing the efforts of its institutions and citizenship to become an efficient and modern Smart City.
5. Buenos Aires
The capital of Argentina created the position of Assistant Secretary of Smart City to implement a Smart City plan that improves the living conditions of its residents.
The digitalization of information and data has allowed institutions in Buenos Aires to streamline formalities, also generating more efficient communication channels with the citizens. For example, an instant messaging information program has been implemented for institutions to send notifications regarding services to city residents.
The installation of smart traffic and lighting sensors have also made their way into the city to optimize its resources and foster a more sustainable city.
Singapore is one of the most technological cities in the world and is included among the top 10 Smart Cities due to its great strides in this regard.
Smart technology in Singapore
Singapore has positioned itself at the forefront of a vast number of amazing innovations. It has developed the first Smart Hospital, where part of its staff is composed of robots and it leverages the potential of Big Data in healthcare. Starting in 2019, the first driverless taxis have appeared as a pilot project.
In addition, they have developed Virtual Singapore as a Digital Twin – a virtual model of the city updated in real time that enables the detection of trends and testing solutions to various challenges.
There are not that many inhabitants in the capital of Iceland (around 120,000); however, they have set the implementation of a Smart City plan as a goal, to enjoy all of its advantages.
The initiatives for a sustainable capital
Worth noting are its energy-related proposals in a country with a vast potential for the use of renewable energies, such as geothermal energy. Indeed, through the implementation of sustainable initiatives, the entire country has successfully managed to source 70% of its consumption from renewable energies – a number that is much higher than anywhere else in the world.
There are also digital citizen engagement initiatives, such as Better Reykjavík, an online forum where citizens submit their ideas to improve the services of the capital city.
Paris is, together with London, one of the financial capitals of Europe, and it is also one of the most-visited cities by tourists from across the globe. As a result, turning it into a Smart City has the potential of improving many aspects of the city.
Spotlight on transportation
Paris has fostered the development of an IoT infrastructure aimed at optimizing the transportation and flow of people. Furthermore, it has planned a complete restructuring of the transportation system through Grand Paris Express, which, among its initiatives, will include a 100% automated subway thanks to Big Data.
Similar in size to New York, London has established 5 missions for the implementation of a Smart City plan: services designed for users, generating and analyzing large-scale Big Data, achieve real connectivity, improving the digital skills of the population and encouraging the collaboration between citizens and institutions.
Deploying the power of data
Various initiatives have been implemented, such as the London Development Database (LDD), a collaborative project for the management of construction permits and its different stages in real time, which can be accessed by any citizen via web.
Other initiatives have reached out to a diverse population, teaching them digital skills related to the handling of technologies such as tablets. In addition, smart electricity meters have been implemented, applying the power of data to generate more sustainable cities.
Among the cities with the highest population density, its transformation into a Smart City vital to generate a more effective space – which is also bolstered by the 2020 Olympics.
Energy sustainability in the sights
The capital of Japan intends to install effective and sustainable systems that coordinate different sources of renewable energies for users. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) plans to install 27 million smart meters by 2025, in an effort that includes the entire city. This will also allow for the prevention of supply problems in case of natural disasters.
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