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.
From BIM to CIM: Why Building and City Information Modelling are Essential to the Development of Smart Cities
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.
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.
Innovation in last mile freight and parcel delivery solutions could yield significant benefits for cities by reducing traffic congestion in urban centers, improving public health by lessening greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and contributing to the success of sustainable urban economies.
What is Last Mile Delivery?
From a manufacturer's plant or warehouse or a supplier or retailer location, the last mile of delivery is the final stage in the shipping process, culminating with arrival of a package or goods at a customer's destination.
Last-mile delivery and associated services are provided by established freight transport companies, courier firms, independent drivers and couriers, click-and-collect retailers, self-service parcel lockers, and postal service destination hubs. Delivery vehicles in the last mile include diesel and gas-powered trucks and vans, electric trucks, pushcarts, pedal carts, bicycles and robotic vehicles (in pilot projects). Due to the steady growth of e-commerce, the number of delivery vehicles and the volume of deliveries and locations have dramatically increased. In addition, the market for urban delivery services is undergoing an evolution with independent drivers and new entrants competing with traditional courier firms.
Boston-based Leading Cities has announced AcceliCITY, a global competition providing Smart City startups with access to international clients, capital from a global network of Smart City educated investors, and tools and knowledge in doing business with cities. The program bridges the gap between startups, cities, and businesses by providing select startups with access to Leading Cities’ proven track record of successful policy implementation, Smart City tools, and broad global network. bee smart city partners with AcceliCITY and Leading Cities to leverage its expertise and network to support Smart City startups.
Leading Cities and several partnering organizations - among them bee smart city - empower the AcceliCITY program to lower the cost of innovation for startups, cities, and corporations by streamlining the innovation and sales cycles for Smart City solutions. All partners provide access to an international network of mentors, investors, and decision-makers in city governments.