Expansión: The City Partners with Technology to build a Smart City
Citizens play a key role in transforming the city. Technology can serve as the bridge between society, business and governments.
“Is technology the soul of the smart city in developing smart strategies?” asks Michael Lake, Executive Director of the World Class Cities Partnership, which provides a platform to educate, create and implement sustainability in cities. “In addition to contributing to infrastructure, alternative energy, hybrid vehicles, sensors, solar panels and green building, technology can be used to reduce or eliminate the barrier between government and citizens,” says Lake, who considers the development of smart cities to be closely associated with communication.
“The rise of technology and social networking is making it easier for citizens to participate in the daily operations of their city,” says Lake. “This can contribute to the sustainability of their community and expands the capacity of government to solve problems by involving citizens directly.” According to the director of the World Class Cities Partnership, communication is the key to education and commitment, so that historically passive citizens can become active promoters and implementers of smart strategies.
The participation and education of citizens is the greatest strength or weakness “of the smart city in achieving its goals,” says Lake. In the transformation of cities the municipality becomes a laboratory.
The management of an intelligent city is something that is not yet clearly defined. According to the World Class Cities Partnership, there is no single solution, but each city must find its own model. The electric car is one of the key pieces in the intelligent city. The construction of the smart city is centered around the quadruple helix: private, public, academic and non-profit. “Every person and organization is critical to the city’s ability to meet its smart city objectives,” said the manager, who referred the case of Boston (United States). The American city has an application that allows citizens to inform the Administration on issues such as litter, potholes and graffiti.
The ‘smart cities’ of the world agree on the government budget constraints. In this situation, innovation and collaboration between different actors are the alternative. In this regard, Michael Lake proposed to incorporate the ‘Road Show’ to present to Congress.
Fira de Barcelona is doing a world tour to introduce the Smart City Expo & World Congress to be held in the Catalan capital in November, and know cities that will come to the event. So far, the event will feature Chinese cities of Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai, India will be represented by Hyderabad, New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Udaipury; from Colombia, Medellin and Bogota, the Brazilian Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Manaus as well as Japan’s Fukushima, Yokohama, Kitakyushu, and Tokyo. The event will present the challenges and future of the sector. For Michael Lake, director of World Class Cities Partnership, the challenge for smart cities is to provide high quality infrastructure, services, and government at a good price and to be aware of current and future environmental impact caused by the city. These challenges range from managing the rainwater to channeling traffic congestion to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Lake suggested that each city develop a communication system that enables collaboration.
Examples of a ‘Smart City’
THE ‘SILICON ISLAND’ NIPPON
The Japanese city of Kitakyushu is one of the four major industrial centers of the country, primarily focused on robotics, automobiles and electronics. Currently the city is trying to become a model eco-city, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. To do this, Kitakyushu seeks to promote the production and use of renewable energy and LED lights, and creating a smart community from the use of new types of energy, the optimized use of energy sources and information technology and communication technologies (ICTs).
THE CASE OF MEDELLIN
Colombia’s second-largest city of Medellin has designed the strategy for a city of knowledge. This plan consists mainly of the incorporation of ICT on various themes such as health, education, security or government. The goal is to have the infrastructure and expertise that enable access to these technologies, and to promote and encourage people use them. The strategy also includes observations that display the survey results from a laboratory notebook project.
RECONSTRUCTION BASED TECHNOLOGY
Following the tsunami that struck the northeast coast, Japan plans to build six cities of the future of energy efficiency in the most affected area. It is expected that three devastated cities, Sumida, Kesense, and Rikuzentakata, will become the first mega solar power batteries. A fourth, Higashi Matsushima, seeks to use technology in construction to create a disaster-resistant city. In the field of communications, the town of Shinichi wants to become a hub of information infrastructure.
This article was originally published by Expansión, a Spanish newspaper offering breaking economic news, market information, information on funds and companies, interviews with analysts, and opinions.
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