The US is, in many ways, the birthplace of innovation: it was there that Ford launched the first affordable car and there that Steve Jobs founded Apple Inc. It is perhaps no surprise, then, that the US has also produced some of the world’s most innovative smart cities. With so many to choose from, we’re going to dive right in and take a look at some of the less obvious smart urban centres to see how they’re changing their city’s physical and social landscape in order to improve the lives of their citizens.
Our current economic model - known as a linear economy - is not sustainable. This is the warning we hear from scientists, economists and other thought leaders who describe the linear model as a wasteful take-make-consume-dispose system, one that damages natural resources and the environment, generates excessive volumes of waste and dumps valuable materials into landfills. By comparison, the grand vision of a circular economy depicts a more resilient and sustainable model which yields responsible use and reuse of resources and raw materials, protection of the environment, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and innovation in waste management.
As we saw in our last article on Asian smart city stars, urban centers in Asia are facing mass urbanization on a much more significant scale than many other parts of the world. They are also often located in climate-vulnerable regions. For example, a World Bank research report assessing the possible consequences of continued sea-level rise on eighty-four developing countries found that the impact of sea-level rise will be particularly severe for the Asia-Pacific region. For this reason, becoming ‘smarter’ and more sustainable is a top priority for many of Asia’s cities. In this article, we will look at four more Asian metropolises that are pushing forward smart initiatives in order to tackle current and prepare for future challenges. If you have not read the first part of the Rising Asian Stars article, you can read it here Rising Asian Stars: Smart Cities to Watch in 2019 - Part 1.
Bob Bennett, the former Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) of Kansas City talked in our Smart City Leader Interview Series - while he still was the CIO of Kansas City - about the importance of smart cities and smart citizens. He emphasized the role of technology and the benefits for citizens.
There were an estimated 47 megacities in existence in 2017, and the majority were located in Asia. The region is facing urbanization on a scale far beyond that of other regions, with an estimated 1.1 billion moving into Asian cities in the next 20 years. Many Asian countries are also in areas that are prone to extreme weather patterns or natural disasters, and this is only becoming more of a problem with climate change. Cities across the continent urgently need to prepare for serious population growth, and the strain it will place on their public services, and the risks that environmental changes pose. For this reason, becoming more resilient and ‘smarter’ is inevitably at the top of most Asian cities’ political agendas. In this article we are going to explore some of the Asian cities investing in becoming smarter and more sustainable in order to make their citizens safer and happier.
Rob van Gijzel, the former Mayor of Eindhoven and current Chairman of the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) Foundation in New York and National Ambassador for the Blockchain Cities Coalition speaks about the importance of smart cities and smart citizens.
The importance of smart cities & smart citizens: In our interview series, smart city leaders comment on the future of smart cities, the role of technology, and the benefits for citizens. In our second interview of the series, we have asked urban strategist and smart city expert Boyd Cohen to share his expertise, thoughts and insights with us on a number of important smart city topics.
There was a time when bells in town squares warned citizens of impending danger. Today, the bells ring again in the form of studies and media reports with warnings about urban problems that plague modern cities and resist solutions. Meanwhile, increasing numbers of people move to cities in pursuit of a higher quality of life. This is the story of cities: Citizens with big expectations versus the endurance of big city problems. It is a still-unfolding story with numerous villains: social inequality, traffic congestion, pollution, crime, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, aging infrastructure, public service shortfalls.
In recent years, an increasing number of Spanish cities recognize the need for bold steps to confront an emerging urban crisis. A crisis with multiple dimensions including damage to quality of life caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, threats of climate change, and an urgency to develop policies that support green city innovation.
Global Perspective: Good Intentions, Complex Barriers
Since the concept of a green economy was forged in the 1990s, the ideas and strategies for green cities have evolved into a variety of urban development policies, smart city solutions and sustainability measures to protect the environment, enable economic development and ensure high quality of life
What does it take to turn a national bureaucracy into a smart government? It’s not too often a country is given a clean slate from which to start. But for Estonia, a small nation on the Baltic Sea, that is exactly what happened.
A combination of pragmatism and instinct led Estonia to develop an e-government in the 1990s, soon after the country regained its independence from the Soviet Union. The Estonians didn’t pursue a digital future because they thought it would be cool or trendy. They followed their common sense, which told them it would be better to expend their limited resources on servers and networks, rather than on grand buildings and government palaces.
Law enforcement has been using technology to solve crimes for more than a century. Using technology to prevent crimes, however, is a relatively new idea. The movie Minority Report famously depicts a futuristic society in which police officers arrest people before they commit crimes. It’s a deeply disturbing movie with a not-too-subtle message about the danger of relying too heavily on technology.
Nevertheless, a small industry has emerged around the practice of predictive policing. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans and other cities have experimented with predictive policing programs. The experiments have been inconclusive and controversial.
What is a smart city and how is it different from our traditional notion of a city? There is no single definition for a smart city. The term itself is a moving target and every city is different.
That said, here are 10 ideas that can help us envision and define the smart city concept: