Smart cities make use of technology and information to improve the way that the city functions and improve quality of life.
How do you make a city smart?
Smart cities, and ‘smart’ items in general, refers to the integration of technology and data/information communication.
Thus smart cities make use of technology and information to improve the way that the city functions and improve the quality of life and services for those people living or visiting there.
The world leaders in smart cities are the United Arab Emirates, in particular Dubai is a strong example of smart city development (KPMG, 2015).
Dubai has developed and communicated a determined plan to improve the smart capability of the city (Smart Dubai, 2016).
This plan includes many initiatives, which cover areas such as public transport, government services, city planning, utilities and public safety.
Some examples of specific implementations are as follows (Smart Dubai, 2016):
Free wireless internet access is being expanded to cover public areas of the entire city.
In the Mall of the Emirates, a parking system can guide people to their cars in the expansive parking garages by locating it using photography.
These examples give an indication of the type of projects that can be undertaken. Other ways to develop smart cities include the incorporation of data measurement into many daily activities.
Road networks can be controlled by measuring traffic in real time, and rerouting traffic to avoid accidents or jams.
Energy grids and usage can be monitored and managed to maximise efficiency. They can also incorporate and measure small scale private generation, such as is done in Amsterdam.
Overall, smart cities aim to make the best use of modern technology within cities. This requires significant investment and dedication from governments, so careful planning is required. Partnerships with skilled companies that can advise on and implement technology solutions are very important to creating smart cities.
KPMG, 2015, Dubai – a new paradigm for smart cities (online), available: [https://www.kpmg.com/AE/en/Documents/Dubai%20A%20new%20paradigm%20for%20smart%20cities.pdf], accessed: 14/09/16
Smart Dubai, 2016, smartdubai.ae (online), available: [http://www.smartdubai.ae/foundation_vision.php], accessed: 14/09/16