What makes a city sustainable?

Surely you have wondered what smart cities are and why they are changing our conception of the world. The use of photovoltaic panels in communities, more means of transport and electric vehicles, windmills in streetlights, solar panels for traffic lights or signs, promotion and development of the use of bicycles… Smart Cities use a variety of resources, and all these small acts lead a city to become more efficient and sustainable.

What are the parameters to consider a smart city better than another? The most important are: Governance, urban planning, public management, technology, environment, international projection, social cohesion, mobility and transport, human capital and economy.

In this occassion we count with two experts who will tell us how important is Smart Cities for the future. On the one hand, Yael Wiener Chief Strategy Officer of Lanez LTD, and on the other hand Aitor Fernandez, President of AEVAC, non profit organization of urban tech in Spain. Let’s dive into it.

“When we talk about autonomous mobility, we automatically imagine cars that circulate alone on our streets, taking us wherever we want, improving the efficiency of transport and driving last-mile logistics to its last level. However, we can say that this is the final result, but today we can already enjoy functionalities that automate driving to a certain degree, making life easier for drivers” thinks Aitor about Urban Tech ecosystem.

Furthermore, it is important to clarify that we still do not have commercial vehicles that allow us to stop paying attention to the road, so the ultimate responsibility lies with the driver. In these scenarios, technology obviously plays an essential role. From artificial intelligence, to image capture and processing, route mapping, Big Data, 5G… All of them make up an intelligent mobility model that will allow us to enjoy a large number of benefits.

Smart Cities will be based in connectivity

A large number of services  will make it possible to offer citizens better and more efficient proposals. AEVAC president considers several of benefits which entire population can enjoy in the future, hightlighting  “more efficient and on-demand transport, recovery of surface spaces by dispensing with car parks, allowing more pedestrian areas and green areas, revitalization of local commerce, and a long etc., by being able to connect vehicles with the IoT”.

“Governments should invest in making cities smarter because there are many technologies out there that can help cities make better and more efficient use of government funds. Also, in many aspects like mobility and energy efficiency, cities can have a significant impact on the nations carbon footprint”, defines Yael firstly. However, all the responsibility does not lie with the government alone. Citizens will play a very active role in the transformation of cities.

Citizen participation facilitates the construction of social capital through a more active contribution of each citizen and interest group in the achievement of shared objectives, each one with a role and specific responsibilities. Facilitating a collaborative approach between the governors and the governed increases trust in management, identification with the city project and the implementation of the most appropriate actions.

Regarding the advances in cities next decade, CSO Lanez LTD is sure that ”mobility is at the core of many of the changes we are going to see. More cities are going to enact more policies to make it difficult to enter cities in cars”. Besides, Yael defends that “there will be improved public transportation and improved infrastructure for micromobility. This will lead to an increasing number of people on the streets and in public areas and this will improve street level commerce, ended.

According to Deloitte, many cities have upgraded their infrastructure, using sensing technology and data analytics to better manage urban assets such as public transportation, sewage systems, and roads. 

This vision of “connected infrastructure” encompasses what are known as Smart City 1.0 physical assets, networked through sensor technology that generate streams of valuable data from “smart” parking meters, streetlights and even garbage cans.

For cities that have not yet entered the trend of SmartCity, they should consider that it is a powerful vision for their development. Connected sensors that collect data can help cities optimize the performance of their physical infrastructure, and are a key part of what is needed to build a smart city.

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