A few years back, the concept of a sustainable city seemed nearly impossible. Because how can an entire city conformingly retain the supply of natural resources while preserving economic growth and political stability simultaneously?
Ways Smart Cities Help
However, due to technological breakthroughs, economic development, and human capital, sustainable environments seem much more realistic than they used to be a few years back.
Co3ncept Of A Smart City
A primary promoter in sustainable urban environments has been the smart city concept. A smart city is characterized as an investment in human and social capital to fuel economic growth. It is a metropolitan area that is reliant mainly on information and communication technology. The idea is to improve efficiency, provide good quality of life, and enhance government service by using different big data and IoT technologies.
What Role Do Smart Cities Play In Ensuring Sustainability?
Many experts believe that smart cities can aid in the resolution of society’s social and environmental sustainability problems. They optimize infrastructure and smart governance to promote the management of their cities through intelligent solutions. Besides infrastructure development, smart cities also play a crucial role in promoting inclusivity and creating strategies to beat the competition. In short, smart cities offer viable solutions for dealing with increasingly complex cities. If you are still unclear about the notion of an innovative urban city, consider enrolling in some urban planning online courses to understand the concept better.
The UN says that almost 6 out of 10 people will be residing in urban areas by 2030. That means there is even a greater need for sustainable development to ward off damages posed by climate change, prevent the extinction of natural resources, and protect the future generation.
Here are a few ways smart cities can promote sustainability in urban environments.
1. Improved public transport
Transportation is a primary factor affecting urban areas. It is the most widely used public good and hence, becomes a critical cause for smart cities. Smart cities encourage intelligent or smart transportation that can eventually lead to improved traffic congestion and mobility. Less traffic congestion results in reduced energy consumption and less wastage. Smart transportation is an excellent idea that promotes inclusivity and offers various employment opportunities to low-income earners.
An example can be the ‘all aboard Florida’ railway. It is an ecologically friendly railway that improves transportation in all communities it serves. Big data technology helped in reducing vibrations and noise during construction. It also assisted in maintaining fuel cost and consumption and determining the influence on local air and quality. The highly tech-powered railways also allow the state to track how the railway affects transportation and commuting times.
2. Less criminal activities
The rise in criminal activities leading to unsafe environments is a struggle several communities have faced for ages. Although societies with efficient law and order have been able to mitigate the threat, it is still not entirely gone.
Luckily, with advances in technology and partnerships with the private sector, smart cities can lower the rate of criminal activities and promote sustainable communication. Some technologies that help detect crime include license plate recognition, close circuit television cameras, body cameras, shooting detectors, and improved streetlights. Multiple research studies prove that smart technologies can reduce criminal activities by 30-40%.
3. Safer communication
Technological advancements changed communication through the development of newer, more efficient, and quicker routes and mediums. Now you can instantly send and reply to messages with a single tap on your phone screen. You no longer need to visit clients or investors physically. Instead, you can conduct business meetings via video call. You can now also store all your essential documents electronically, therefore, reducing the need for hard copies and leading to less wastage.
Sustainability communication is especially essential in various industries and companies looking to integrate sustainability into their operations. It effectively engages clients, customers, and investors in critical business decisions.
4. More job opportunities
A core objective of a smart city concept is to give people equal access to essential resources. This distribution of resources also leads to a tremendous increase in job opportunities, especially in the digital sector.
Smart cities not only invest in their primary industries but also thoroughly follow technological growth. Many research studies confirm that most technological initiatives in smart cities are likely to foster abundant employment opportunities. An example could be the rising demand for workers in tech-driven companies like Uber and Lyft.
5. Improved infrastructure
Infrastructure is also one of the primary factors of smart cities. In reality, the idea of smart cities rose from the possibility of pairing devices with data to the city’s infrastructure. The results turned out to be remarkable, and the concept of smart infrastructure began.
Some examples of the infrastructure in smart cities include smart buildings, smart air quality sensors, smart grids, and smart waste management. All of these lead to efficient consumption of energy, smart maintenance of equipment, and lower chances of malfunctioning. Similarly, a smart grid system can considerably lower operational costs, lead to more efficient electricity transmission and faster restoration of electricity after power failures. The New York Times reported that smart grid technologies could provide the US with almost $1.3 trillion to $2 trillion in profit over the next coming years.
As mentioned earlier, smart cities have a tremendous effect on the quality of life. Today, citizens expect their cities to deliver them a digitally equipped life, which smart cities aim to do. They enhance citizen and government engagement, reduce environmental footprints, and increase digital equity. Although there are some backdrops, such as fossil fuels, to power geographical footprints, smart cities can use tools to assuage these risks. In this case, for instance, reducing emissions through an electric transport system could be a solution.