Top Things We Can Learn From A City Tech
You probably know there are more than 7 billion living humans on Earth, but have you noticed that between the years 1900 and 2000 the world’s population increase was three times greater than the entire previous history of humanity? Yes, this is an increase from 1.5 to 6.1 billion in just 100 years.
What you've just read is something to be concerned about. Just an example; a study from Brickell´s Downtown Development Authority said 66,769 people lived at Brickell City Centre, in 2010. This year it’s 88,540, with a forecast of 106,429 in 2021.
That means it’s going to be harder to live in the city; living places will become smaller, and if traffic is already a nightmare, what can we expect for the future? Think about how this increase can impact the environment. According to the UN, crowded cities consume between 60 and 80% of all energy on earth, also they produce 75% of the emissions of polluting gasses. Don't forget to consider resource scarcities, especially oil.
Afraid? Don’t you worry, child. Fortunately, the ability to create more liveable urban spaces and care for the environment are the main benefits of becoming a tech city.
A city tech relies on technology to generate benefits for its residents in many areas such as mobility, energy efficiency, education, health, safety, urban planning and more.
So let's have a look at the standard city tech and see what we can learn from them:
In 2014 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the Smart Nation program, what they plan is setting up an undetermined number of sensors and cameras across the island city-state that allows the government to monitor everything from the cleanliness of public spaces to the density of crowds and the precise movement of every locally registered vehicle. That sounds very stalkerish counting that authorities are developing systems that can tell when people are smoking in banned zones or throwing trash.
And this tech will go far beyond that, this data will be fed to an online platform, creating Virtual Singapore, that will give the government an unprecedented look into how the country is functioning in real time.
Also sensors developed by private companies managed elderly’s homes alerting family if they stop moving, and even record when they use the toilet in an attempt to monitor general health.
- What can we learn from them: The main feature of Singapore’s effort is a kind of digital crystal ball that acts as a superpowered X-ray version of Google Maps. Data collected by the sensor feeds information, which will store exact dimensions of buildings, placement of windows and types of construction materials used, allowing the government to control many aspects of daily life, including public transport networks and housing.
Odd fact: they have restrictions on the sale of chewing gum to keep the city clean.
Spain is among the countries that were hit the hardest by the 2008 recession. To face economic challenges, Barcelona applied technology to transform itself into a model of data-driven, sensing, smart urban system.
Starting in 2012, the city set up responsive technologies across urban systems for public transit, parking, street lighting, and waste management. These innovations provide significant cost savings and improved the quality of life for residents.
They used Internet of Things or IoT, the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.
- What can we learn from them: Barcelona’s smart City project took advantage of 500 kilometers of fiber optic cable within the city, the fiber network provides 90 percent fiber-to-the-home coverage and serves as a backbone for integrated city systems.
For energy efficiency, the city installed 19,500 smart meters, an electronic device that monitor and optimize energy consumption.
In waste management, smart bins that monitor waste levels and optimize collection routes are being used.
In transportation, Barcelona has pursued a multi-modal strategy, advancing the use of electric cars and bike sharing, digital bus stops turn waiting for buses into an interactive experience, with bus location tracking, USB charging stations, free WiFi, and tools to help riders download apps to help them learn more about the city.
For drivers, Barcelona has implemented a sensor system that guides them to available parking spaces.
On April, last year, Amsterdam won Europe’s Capital of Innovation award by the European Commission. This city is totally on a mission to turn itself into the greatest tech city in the world.
What they have been doing is improving urban life with data analytics. Many of these projects involve contribution outside of government. They’ve been focusing on solutions that are replicable or scalable.
For example, traffic density is a major problem for Amsterdam, so the city is partnering with TrafficLink ( British company specialising in providing real-time traffic information.) to create the Digital Road Authority, an automated system that can tell residents what the traffic will be like at any point throughout the day.
For energy efficiency, Amsterdam is one of two European pilot sites for City-Zen, a program for energy saving that will significantly lower the amount of carbon emissions and improve the city’s energy infrastructure.
- What can we learn from them: City-Zen program stands for “city zero carbon energy,” energy grids and retrofitting buildings to be more sustainable. It’s expected Amsterdam will save 59,000 metric tons per year in carbon dioxide (CO2). That’s roughly the same impact as removing about 12,000 cars from the road.
As you see, we have great tools to face world’s population increase, but until your city becomes a Tech city start with yourself by trying out some time management apps ;)