If the science fiction writers of the 1950s had been right, most of us today would travel around in flying cars and pneumatic trains. We would commute to work on high-speed moving sidewalks and zip across town in horizontal elevators. For short hops, we would wear personal jet packs or anti-gravity belts. Well, here we are in the early 21st century and we’re still waiting for buses, stuck in traffic jams and trying to walk across busy streets without being hit by a cab. Transportation has changed, but not in the ways predicted by science fiction. Many of the most important changes have been invisible.
When it comes to public safety, smart city leaders recognize the importance of engaging with citizens and encouraging them to report safety problems. In this article, we present a perspective on public safety — and focus on Vizsafe, a U.S. startup firm which discovered opportunities to incentivize citizens and improve safety by creating a platform which connects the power of crowdsourcing and smartphone technologies with a blockchain-based rewards system.
Smart education is a key ingredient in smart city development. Strengths in basic education, advanced training and certification, universities and community colleges, e-learning infrastructure, lifelong learning and innovation in education technologies are all part of what defines a smart city. "For the citizens of a smart city to thrive, we must first place education at its center," according to Dr. I-Chang Tsai, Vice President and Director General of Digital Education, Institute for Information Industry in Taiwan. Smart cities recognize the need for "education programs producing graduates with modern knowledge, practical skills and collaborative attitudes."
When we think of smart cities, we tend to think in futuristic terms. We often use the language and iconography of futurism to express our visions of what a smart city should look like. But we should also look to the past for lessons and examples of how previous generations handled the challenges of planning and developing urban spaces.
Urban innovators with smart city aspirations rely on university knowledge and resources when addressing complex issues. Through access to research and thought leadership on urban challenges, smart cities benefit from partnerships with universities.
The Changing Face of Urban Innovation
When contemplating the need for urban improvement, cities once looked for efficiency gains, cost savings, and incremental, low-risk innovation to enhance local government operations. Today, urban residents demand much more from city leaders. Wicked urban problems such as homelessness, lack of affordable housing, pollution, congestion, inequality, social and digital exclusion, and environmental threats require bold thinking and a new paradigm in public sector innovation - made possible through collaboration with universities.
Urban mobility is described as the lifeblood of modern cities, a critical economic factor, and a facilitator of smart, sustainable development. Planning a smart city that delivers effective and equitable urban mobility solutions is one of the most pressing problems for cities throughout the world. In this article — the first in a planned series — we provide a perspective on urban mobility challenges and examples of smart urban mobility solutions.
At Smart City Expo World Congress, Barcelona City Council and the City of New York have issued a call for innovative technologies and tools to help make housing more affordable. This call now draws to an end: the extended deadline for submitting proposals is February 10, 2019. Take the last chance to apply!
Why an affordable housing challenge?
In cities around the world, affordable housing represents one of the biggest challenges that undermines social inclusion, equality, health and well-being, as well as sustainability.
Cities are both a key enabler of productivity and economic development, and essential to the social and political wellbeing of individuals and society, as the place that most people now call ‘home’.
However, there are many problems in cities that are inhibiting economic growth and social and environmental justice and equality. Traffic congestion is a huge problem worldwide and costs national economies billions of pounds each year. In the UK alone, traffic cost the economy £31bn in 2016. Poor housing conditions, leading to greater need for healthcare services, also put a huge strain not only on people’s lives but also on local and national healthcare systems. Growing populations and changing demographics - for example, an increasingly youthful population in many African cities, and an increasingly ageing population in much of Europe - is already beginning to put a lot of strain on public services and the built environment. The global housing crisis is just one expression of this.
The smart city concept is one reaction to the growing challenges that urban centers face - from environmental degradation, to increasing economic inequalities, to growing populations that overstrain and exhaust social and physical infrastructure - as it aims to improve the operational, service and energy efficiency of cities and render them better places to live for all.
Earlier this year, bee smart city partner Leading Cities, a global network for Smart City growth and collaboration, has launched a global Smart City startup accelerator program that provides potential capital from a network of investors as well as the tools and knowledge of how to do business with cities. In this year’s edition 27 semi-finalists have been selected from more than 550 applications from over 40 countries. From this global pack of urban innovators, three startups emerged as AcceliCITY winners - one for each track of the AcceliCITY program (clean energy, city visualization and general tracks).
The world of urban mobility is changing fast, and cities are grappling with the impact on safety. Growth in urban populations, combined with more cars, trucks and public transport vehicles (e.g. increasing last mile delivery) sharing crowded streets with vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists), makes the task of providing safe mobility a complex challenge. The task is further complicated by unsafe driving behavior, demand for multimode transport options, the need for bicycle-friendly streets and the uncertain future of autonomous vehicles.
Road fatalities are increasing in many cities and comprised 37 percent of European road fatalities in 2017. Taking steps to improve the safety of urban mobility fosters quality of life and yields opportunities to deliver transport sustainability. This article provides a perspective on policies and innovation regarding urban mobility safety solutions for smart cities.
Smart city strategy, now moving into its ‘fourth generation’, is today increasingly focused on collaboratively determining community’s needs before implementing infrastructural and/or technological changes. With community empowerment at the forefront of smart city development, what ‘smartness’ means when it comes to building must be defined with (rather than for) the community in order to produce buildings that genuinely enable a higher quality of life and engender more sustainable lifestyles.
The smart city is also as much centered around stimulating cooperation as sustainability: this means capitalizing on the most innovative ‘smart’ technologies and processes to ensure that new infrastructure is built not only in the most collaborative, but also the most resource-efficient way too.
A recurring theme in architecture and construction engineering is that of "sick buildings". In our eagerness to control all the parameters and internal and external conditions of our constructions, humanity has tended, increasingly, to make hermetic buildings, replete with electrical and electronic installations that give off electromagnetic waves and ions. Especially in offices we often find ourselves with spaces that are too cold and with a highly charged environment.
Here we will address how to alleviate the excess of electromagnetic charge and the lack of humidity in an environment, with the installation of Canadian or Provencal Wells, for the promotion of sustainable architecture.