Smart Cities: The Cities of the Future

smart cities

The cities are the future for the world’s population. Two out of every three people will be living in cities by 2050, according to a recent UN report. In that same report, it also estimates that the world could have 12 more cities with over 10 million people.

Currently, there are 31 cities with over 10 million people. Cities with enormous populations suffer severe problems with traffic congestion, pollution, homelessness, and crime. However, technological innovations are bringing solutions to these problems.


Introducing Smart Cities


These innovative solutions create the idealistic model of a smart city. It is urban development connected to information technology. In other words, the smart city represents an amalgamation of innovative technological solutions to optimize city life. 

As the world connects with more technology, a new wave of intelligent applications will change how we do everyday activities. Smart cities bring together infrastructure and technology to improve citizens’ quality of life.

Anthony Townsend, research director of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, says:


“Technological solutions for cities are being created in every corner of the world, from small businesses and individuals to multinationals and governments.”


Smart cities are places for urban space to integrate with the “internet of things” and big data. 


“An [smart] city is one that puts people at the center of development. [It] incorporates information and communication technologies into urban management. [With] these elements as tools, [it] stimulates the formation of an efficient government, which encompasses collaborative planning and citizen participation.”

Source: Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)


Discovering Smart City Technology


Smart cities represents three main areas: Internet of Things, Big Data, and algorithmic planning and management that is applicable to urban life. So, here are some examples.


1- Smart Street Lighting / Interactive Signs


Sensory illumination turns lights on and off based on the presence of vehicles and people. Traffic signals display guidelines and aids when necessary. In Chicago, the Array of Things Project enables congestion reduction during peak traffic hours through real-time data from GPS-enabled taxis.


2- Smart Parking / Intelligent Water Systems


Smart Parking systems optimize the flow of traffic. Leak detection systems and intelligent sprinklers conserve and manage water.

The city of Barcelona adopted intelligent technologies to implement a fiber optic network throughout the city. The city offers free high-speed WiFi that integrates with the “internet of things” for intelligent water systems, lighting, and parking management.


3- Sustainability Solutions


City governments are rushing to use smart technologies to predict fires, optimize policing, conserve water to prevent disasters.

In the United States, Boston and Baltimore deploy smart trash cans to determine fullness to run more efficient routes for sanitation workers. In Brazil, the city of Armação de Búzios implemented remote controlled LED lamps and solar panels on homes. As a result, they are expecting a reduction in energy consumption of up to 80%.


4- Smart Applications Facilitate Service


Today, it is not hard to find a food delivery service to enjoy meals at home or work. These smart applications offer ease and convenience to satisfy the consumer, whether it is ordering food, shopping, or transportation.


amazon-go-app-and-store Inc. has opened a cashless convenience store called Amazon Go in New York. It is its biggest effort to change the way people shop physically through smart shopping carts.


And The World’s Smart Cities of 2019


  1. London (United Kingdom)
  2. New York City (United States of America)
  3. Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  4. Paris (France)
  5. Reykjavik (Iceland)
  6. Tokyo (Japan)
  7. Singapore (Singapore)
  8. Copenhagen (Denmark)
  9. Berlin (Germany)
  10. Vienna (Austria)

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