By 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60% of people globally; the city governments will face enormous pressure by then. In recent years, the earth’s temperature broke the historic record of past 130 years; global warming is truly happening.
With the emergence of the Internet of things, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, it is estimated that half of the current livelihoods — from working class to professional — will disappear. By one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that do not exist at present.
So what is a Smart City?
What is the difference between living in a smart city and our society today? Based on the Smart City Wheel, developed by Dr. Boyd Cohen in 2012, smart city is defined by the following six attributes:
Smart People: ICT training (including computer programming, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics) becomes a must in addition to language skills. In Europe, there are at least 13 countries, including France, Finland, Italy, and Switzerland, aiming to develop the problem solving skills of their younger generation and have geared up technology training since 2016.
Smart Government: Establishing a common spatial data infrastructure and opening up government information can encourage the public to brainstorm together on how to improve the quality of living, which is the core value of a smart city. The successful examples are GeoHub in Los Angeles of the United States, and Dubai Pulse in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates.
Smart Environment: Sweden has digitized the image of the country’s mountains, rivers, buildings and roads in a popular computer game Minecraft to stimulate young people’s interest in urban planning; a British company proposed to use a drone loaded with germinated seeds to fire pods into the ground at a rate of planting one billion trees a year. It is ten times faster than the current method, and the cost is only 20% of planting using manual labour.
Smart Economy: Exponential growth of the sharing economy is anticipated, with global revenue expected to increase to US$335 billion by 2025, 22 times that of 2015. The most popular categories include tourism,car sharing, finance, human resources, music and video streaming. At the same time, according to economic research on the AI era, undertaken by the U.S. White House, there will be four types of work created: (1) collaboration with AI, such as medical workers using AI for routine patient checks; (2) creating AI technologies and applications, such as data scientists and software developers; (3) engineers who monitor, license, or repair AI systems, such as technicians servicing AI robots; and (4) work derived from AI-driven paradigm shifts, such as lawyers creating legal framework around AI, urban planners to establish environments to accommodate autonomous vehicles (AVs).
Smart Mobility: It is expected that by the middle of the 21st century, advanced AVs will reduce accidents by 90%. In the U.S., it would have the potential of saving about US$190 billion annually as a result of the decrease in casualties.
Smart Living: With AVs, drivers can save more time for work, rest or entertainment. The time saved by commuters every day might add up globally to one billion hours. It probably creates a large pool of value; potentially generating global digital-media revenues of US$6 billion per year for every additional minute people spend on the mobile Internet while in a car. At the same time, with more leisure time, human being’s creativity would be unlocked.
Furthermore, linking up families and neighbours (People), caregivers and doctors (Private) as well as the policy makers within government (Public) to form a Partnership (4P) with a holistic aim of creating a smart health environment can keep citizens safe, healthy and happy with advanced information technology. Big data analysis helps predict the development of disease; telehealth can reduce the fatigue of both patients and caregivers, and a sensor network at home can safeguard the patient.
“Sustainable development is already well embedded in the development and planning of cities. The trend is the development and planning of smart sustainable cities. It is important for us to know the present and future development of smart cities because we cannot avoid not living and interacting with it.” – Anthony Yeh, FRTPI, FHKIP, FAIP, FRICS Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Fellow of TWAS Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences, U.K.
From zero to three – main stages of urban development
According to Dr. Boyd Cohen there are three phases of the smart city’s evolution:
Smart City 1.0:technology-centric. It is characterized by technology providers encouraging cities to adopt their solutions when they have not fully appreciated how they may impact the citizen’s quality of life.
Smart City 2.0:technology enabled, city-led. City administrators increasingly focus on technology solutions as a means to improve the quality of life. According to McKinsey&Company research, we are in the process of entering a second era of smart cities, one that could live up to its actual potential by being more citizen-centric and outcome focused. McKinsey’s research was based on 15 cities: Dubai, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, and Singapore form the group of cities in which the average adoption of smart solutions exceeding 30 percent with the usage rate of those technologies reaching 70 to 80 percent. Today, leading smart cities are beginning to use citizen co-creation models to help create a new generation of smarter cities – generation 3.0.
Smart City 3.0:citizen co-creation. Vienna, for example, is a leading city regularly at the top of the annual smart cities rankings. It continues to be quite active in the 2.0 model and, like Barcelona, also has more than 100 active smart cities projects. But some of those projects have a different feel. For example, in a partnership with the local energy company, Wien Energy, Vienna included citizens as investors in local solar plants as contribution to the city’s 2050 renewable energy objectives.
Other examples of generation 3.0 are Vancouver and Barcelona. Vancouver led one of the most ambitious collaborative strategy making initiatives by engaging 30,000 citizens in the co-creation of the Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. And Barcelona recently completed an innovation project (called BCN Open Challenge), where the city posted six challenges and leveraged a private platform, Citymart, to solicit ideas from local and global citizens and innovators.
Singapore usually tops the rankings when it comes to implementing smart city technologies focusing on smart mobility, smart infrastructure, elderly inclusion, security, public services and energy consumption. Seoul, Tokyo and a few growing cities in China (Wuxi, Hangzhou, Yinchuan) have also been noticed for their numerous experiments with Internet of Things technologies, artificial intelligence and robotics to improve the experience of their citizens.
To learn more about evolution of the Smart Cities and hear best practices and real case studies you can by registering for The Iot & AI World Summit Russia which will be held in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia on October 1-2, 2019.
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