Just over a century ago, only one in five people on Earth lived in cities. By 2050, 70% of us will be city dwellers. And because digital technology has become such a key part of our everyday lives, the question of the smart city arises more today than ever before. There are many initiatives to facilitate the arrival of smart cities. A guided tour of the smart city.
While Singapore, having been ahead of its time by focusing on this area since the 1990s, is considered to be the first smart city in the world, in Europe, the cities of London and Barcelona have made significant advances in recent years. In each case, the source is the same: open data. Since 2014, London’s DataStore has made the data collected by the city’s sensors available to the public. In total, 460 mobility applications have been developed thanks to open data, including the famous CityMapper, which allows commuters to select routes that adapt to real-time events while also promoting eco-mobility.
As for the Catalan capital, it is a veritable seedbed for smart cities. Through open data, it has been able to establish a system of smart traffic lights to reduce congestion, and has also enabled a company called Urbiotica to develop a smart car park that stops drivers needing to hunt for an available space by using sensors on the ground, a technology which is now available in fifteen European cities. Plus, the city council has launched the Mobile ID application, which simplifies a number of administrative procedures by digitizing them all so they can be performed from a smartphone.
This highlights the authorities’ commitment to connecting with its citizens, which is also the case in the other cities, of course. In France, such cities include Nantes, (Nantes dans ma poche application [Nantes in my pocket]) and Paris (Paris Data project).
In addition to the efficiency and convenience offered to their users, smart cities also have a citizenship mission: ecology. To encourage users to think about the planet and their purse strings at the same time. In France, the region of Grand Lyon is developing a reputation as something of a testing ground, particularly in the area of smart grids. The Aquadvanced software developed by Suez to achieve domestic water savings is also in the process of being rolled out, as are the Linky meters that ERDF has deployed throughout mainland France.
There are also lots of projects in other countries. From the smart dumpsters that have been installed in the city of Santander, Spain, in collaboration with NEC to avoid garbage trucks making unnecessary trips, to the smart streetlights developed by Citeos that reduce the Basque town of Bakio’s lighting bill by 82%, and the Schoonschip system in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, which allows you to “share” your energy with your neighbors, there are many initiatives which are working for the greater good, both now and in the future. And although cities currently produce 80% of greenhouse gases, research firm Juniper Research has estimated that in 2021, smart cities will generate energy savings equivalent to the needs of 15 million households per year. This figure will be even higher if everyone works to save energy.
Cities for Life: et si la ville de demain était au service des humains? https://t.co/TUfzmB7KPE
— Raphael Souchier (@RaphaelSouchier) 21 novembre 2016