Researchers are suggesting that by the year 2030, 60% of the world’s population will be living in mega-cities. It’s up to the current leaders in those cities to determine how those people will live and what their lives will be like when the time comes.
Through the use of technology from smart cities, there can be a plethora of benefits obtained to improve the quality of life of the citizens living there. One example of technological advantages already benefiting cities is the 23-foot air purifier in Beijing that sucks up air pollution that was once a major issue for the area. It gets filtered and cleaner air is released for the community to enjoy.
The benefits of a smart city vary from monitoring and broadcasting traffic information, recording air quality and making necessary improvements, and responding in real-time to other occurrences throughout the region.
Large cities are making changes that are described as building smart cities through these performance changes discovered in the data and electronic monitoring. The purpose is to allow improvement in decision making, analysis, and overall gains for the city. It also allows citizens to be more involved in what’s happening in their communities.
The investments being made to transition into a smart city are great. There are decisions being made early on in the integration about what the future holds based on the technology available rather than what the people need to have a better lifestyle in their chosen cities. The research and technology that goes into smart cities will eventually ensure that the region is technologically advanced, but they will also be able to adapt systems and processes to what the people living there need.
Efficiency of the City as a Major Benefit
Government agencies, residents, and the environment become more competent with well-designed technological tools implemented making efficiency one of the benefits of a smart city. Any redundancies can be identified and eliminated, money can be saved, and the responsibilities of workers can be readily determined to make the services cheaper and of higher quality.
Another of the benefits of a smart city is the real-time environmental monitoring for energy use that allows for any improvements to be identified and completed. Some smart cities have sensors installed that record temperature, sound, air quality, and water levels for the streets, gutters, and traffic. Through the collection of data, they can find ways to deal with urban flooding and save on energy. The result is an improvement in the quality of life for the people living there.
The benefits of a smart city don’t stop there. The residents having the ability to live a higher quality lifestyle is arguably the most important aspect surrounding smart city implementation. Some of the issues that can be effectively addressed for citizens include:
- Educational services
- Environmental conditions
- Community relationships
- Happiness and optimism
- Discrimination identification
- Neighbourhood blight
By identifying and tracking these efforts, security and movement of residents increases making the city a better place to live.
Focusing on the Service
The first line of people that are going to benefit are government agencies and their employees. Smart cities make the functions for them more manageable. The idea is that this simplification will then trickle down to the public.
One problem with that is the idea that the public can easily become somewhat of an afterthought while all the focus turns to the governmental needs. When leaders are looking for investors to help build their communities through the use of smart city technology, it doesn’t necessarily help the individual as much as it helps the community as a whole, but it’s still a winning situation for everyone.
Some leaders may also use the idea of smart city improvements when they are displaying their forward thinking. It shows that they are focused on the future of the city and the people living there. However, if they are working on helping the government instead of the citizens, it can create more problems or amplify those that are already existing.
Who Are the Real Smart City Winners?
When officials are deciding where to implement the many systems associated with smart cities, they have to determine who will benefit and what areas are going to be left out. That means that not every area of the community is going to feel the results of the efforts put forth.
It is essential for all leaders, residents, and business owners to keep monitoring the efforts of the smart city implementation and publically share opinions about what is working and what needs to be changed. It’s a political process, but residents will now be able to have their voices heard and share any issues they have with what’s taking place in the regions they live in.