Smart Cities, energy efficiency and sustainability for the cities of the future lifestyle
Smart cities search for higher efficiency in their resource management through information technology and communication, as well as balanced energy consumption.
The objective is: to include all citizens in the dynamics of the city; to improve the openness of the government and generate wealth by adapting to the environment.
Cities have become one of the most populated places in the world. Their growth changes every year with the increase and arrivals of new inhabitants, and it is estimated that this growth will go on increasing over the next few years.
According to the latest United Nations report (UN), 68% of the population will live in cities in 2050. The main increase will be seen in Asia and Africa,
with almost 90% out of the total figure. India, China and Nigeria will see 35% of city growth between the years 2018 and 2050, with 416 million inhabitants for the first aforementioned country, 255 million for the second and 189 million for the latter.
This scenario means that the main cities have the challenge of becoming ‘Smart cities’ or intelligent cities. Equally distributed, making the most of the energy resources, taking advantage of the channels and data of communication and information technology (ICT) to create better infrastructures that search for city specialisation which promotes balanced urban planning. These are some of the requirements that are necessary to achieve this rating.
Smart City is the holistic view of a city that applies ICT and which strives for getting better life quality and its inhabitants’ accessibility through an economic, social and environmentally sustainable development in the public and private sectors alike.
Greater sustainability for both public and private sectors
Smart cities create great business opportunities both in the public and private sectors. Some of them were tackled at the last Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona (SCEWC), the leading world event about smart cities which was held at Fira Barcelona last November. Several topics were dealt with, such as collective understanding and the global urban innovation for a more habitable environment through energy savings, panel installation and intelligent lighting.
The digital transformation, urban environment, mobility, governance and finance, along with inclusive cities are some of the objectives to be reached in the short to medium term. Measures which seek an energy consumption saving of up to 60%.
With regard to mobility, the improvements are focused on mobile applications to share transport or to have a better traffic management. Research by the Texas Transportation Institute estimates that traffic jams in the USA may lead to more than 11.300 million litres of petrol to be used, and some 7.000 million hours spent by citizens stuck in traffic jams: 960 dollars a year per person. Hence, the importance of the proper use of the technology, since up to 30% of resources could be saved.
Bioclimatic architecture with renewable energies
Bioclimatic architecture is a movement which is getting stronger regarding the smart cities construction. Being environmentally friendly, along with making the most of resources and energy savings, are some of the principles which are applied to these types of buildings. A clear example of this is the NZEB (Net Zero Energy Building) building, whose energy consumption is almost zero, since it is the building itself which produces renewable energy, or it is the one which makes use of the photovoltaic panels in the communities.
Identifying the needs of citizens, as well as giving them answers through creativity, competitiveness, sustainability and the RDI have made it possible for cities to be created which are increasingly more dynamic and smarter. That balance is the one which has been analysed in the Cities in Motion 2018 (ICM) IESE index, carried out by the IESE Strategy and Globalisation Centre. The development of 165 smart cities from 80 countries is assessed there.
The criteria to take into consideration is the following: the economy, the labour force, social cohesion, the environment, governance, urban planning, international projection, technology and mobility and transport.
New York, London and Paris are at the top because of their safety, energy efficiency, governability and connectivity between areas. A result achieved due to the exchange of data and the coordination between services and platforms.
In this edition, Europe has become one of the core points as far as smart cities are concerned. Twelve of its cities are in the top 25, for instance:
Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen. Madrid and Barcelona are in the 25th and 26th positions respectively in this report. The first foundations laid for a sustainable future.