Smart City: an intelligent city, futuristic …. Or simply realistic?
Urban development, and the problems that comes with it, is forcing towns to consider different possibilities. 2 people out of 3 will be town dwellers in 2030. This concentration of towns on an international level is raising the question of how we can better organise our towns and optimise resources? Far from just imagining a town right out of a science fiction movie, the smart city, aims at combining organization, sustainable development and the well-being of its inhabitants. In other words, creating accessible and ecological mobility, and a citizen-responsible urbanisation. In a nutshell, a smart way of living.
The 6 main criterion of a smart city according to Rudolf Giffinger, expert in analytical research on urban and regional development at the technological university in Vienna.
Does the city of tomorrow exist today?
A fine example of urban development is Singapore and its dedicated governmental programme: The Smart Nation. Its commitments put Singapore in first place, in the ranking of the smartest cities in the world. The Singapore government adopted smart city principles very early. With its very high population density and very little space or available resources, it was time to take action.
For example, the state made public transport free during certain hours of the day. It encourages people to buy electric cars and to use them for car-pooling, and they have also suggested that the price of the toll gate should be adjusted in relation to the traffic. The objective is to lessen traffic on the road and to reduce CO2 emissions by 36% from now until 2030 by putting the well-being of its citizens first.
And as for companies, they want them to be greener. The Clean Tech Park is a vast complex bringing together universities, housing and companies.
European cities also know how to run for the “smart city” label. Barcelona, for example, has provided ecological mobility (a sensor that informs people about empty parking spaces and electric vehicle charging stations.) Then there is London, that pools together smart meters to manage energy costs better. Vienna, makes life easier for users via smart technology (free Wi-Fi, mobile apps …) and that’s not all, the European Union has invested 210 million euros since 2014 to boost projects in smart cities.
And is France, smart or not smart?
French smart cities adopted the plan “Smart and Sustainable Paris 2014-2020 by concentrating both on ecology and new technology. On 28th and 29th November 2017, The Parisian Smart City Forum 2017 took place. This was an event on the theme of “Reinvesting in the city” based on the observation that life styles are evolving, so the city is thinking about its sustainable mobility. Priority has been given to the development of “soft” ways of transport. Autolib, velib: clean public transport, adapted to cyclists and pedestrians. Paris wants to be a connected town through the numerous mobile applications it offers. There will be money-saving ideas, ways of finding a taxi easily, how to enjoy a walk around the city or how to report a pollution problem. Everything is possible depending on the app you choose!
Smart means being connected
To be smart, it’s all about having the right tools and the right support. With this in mind, Strasbourg has developed Strasmap. It’s a new cartographic application of the city, designed to help make the life of its users easier when travelling around the city (calculation of the itinerary, the air quality …)
In the same vein, Citi2gether has developed an application – a true exchange platform for inhabitants and the town. Everyone living in the town can have the latest news about the city, connect to emergency services, reply to e-surveys etc. As for the town, the system helps it collect information as citizens can say openly what they think, and these trends are observed.
We have understood that the rapid evolution of technology has forced our towns to adapt. Synox, positions itself as “the privileged partner of the cities that want to become intelligent”. The company has asked towns to integrate connected objects to their network (meters, sensors …). The data that is then collected can be seen on the visualisation interfaces. The exploitation of this precious information enables, amongst other things, to create new services with the aim of improving our daily lives.
One question remains unanswered however, is the cyber risk under control?
Whatever happens, a 2.0 revolution in our cities is well and truly underway.
- International Conferences: Smart City Exhibition in Barcelona 2018. Eco City 2011. Annual International Smart Cities Conference.
*According to the Smart City Juniper Research 2018 ranking