Mobile operators worldwide are investing in 5G networks, and proponents of this much-hyped technology believe it will enable a new wave of smart city development. According to the IEEE, "5G is not just an evolutionary upgrade of the previous generation of cellular networks. It is a revolutionary technology … and a critical piece of the smart city puzzle."
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When used correctly, disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence can improve our urban landscape for the better. Drawing from huge resource pools and using a combination of modern machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and more, artificial intelligence can be leveraged to drive efficiency and improve the quality of life for the smart cities of the smart cities tomorrow.
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The first edition of CityTech RUHR, Germany’s largest international smart city startup challenge, concluded with the successful development and implementation of pilot projects by three international startups in three participating cities of the Ruhr Metropolis. Three success stories reflect the high innovation potential that can be leveraged through the collaboration between cities and startups.
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Meeting those needs presents an incredibly urgent and disconcertingly novel set of challenges. So, what are cities doing beyond locking down and freezing up? What kind of systems and smart city innovations should they put in place to be more resilient?
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The Covid-19 pandemic has posed similar challenges to cities and municipalities around the world. What have we learned from the Covid-19 pandemic and how can innovative solutions also be used in the post-crisis period? The international digital ideas competition #SolutionsForCities, started by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI), is not only intended to find answers to all these questions. Rather, cities and municipalities are to be supported through international collaboration in identifying digital solutions to overcome their local challenges.
Partnering cities of the International Smart Cities Network (ISCN) and German cities that have been recognized as "Smart Cities Model Projects" have identified current challenges to be solved through the international ideas competition.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has made a tremendous impact on people’s everyday lives. Changes to our regular routines have been coming in thick and fast, from mask-wearing protocol to social distancing etiquette. Of all these changes, how we move around and get from A to B has seen some of the most drastic changes.
Over the past few months, mobility has rapidly evolved into an entirely new beast. Faithful and reliable transport methods are being shunned in favor of new systems. Citizens are avoiding crowded trains and buses in favor of bicycles and e-scooters. As cities evolve to phase out car usage, improving air quality and the health of citizens, the Covid-19 pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to overhaul urban mobility. But will these changes be here for good?
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bee smart city partner Leading Cities is now accepting applications for its second edition of the AcceliCITY smart city startup accelerator. Last year’s inaugural edition of the contest worked with 27 semi-finalists selected from more than 550 applications from over 40 countries.
“The goal of the AcceliCITY program is to facilitate sustainable growth, resiliency and quality-of-life improvements for cities around the world by addressing the critical needs of Smart City startups,” says Michael Lake, President and CEO of Leading Cities. “These startups are developing the innovative solutions to municipal challenges in the 21st century.”.
AcceliCITY offers the chance for startups to secure what they need most - paid projects to build their portfolio and validate their solutions. This edition will focus on the challenges of smart water and smart mobility through pioneering partnerships with the cities of New Bedford, Massachusetts and Mount Pearl, Canada. In addition, all applicants will compete to be selected for fast-tracking to the Urban Resilience Challenge. Those selected will automatically advance to the semi-finalist stage and compete for a 1st Place prize of $75,000 and 2nd Place prize of $25,000.
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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.
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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.
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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.
Smart City Smart Building Smart Cities Urban Planning Real Estate Construction Smart Planning BIM Building Information Modelling City Information Modelling Virtual Reality Digital Tools CIM Artificial Intelligence Autonomous Robots