5 keys to the development of smart cities 

Jonatan Carbonell

It is increasingly common to find smart cities around the world. With the incorporation of innovative technologies, cities can improve the lives of their inhabitants through efficient solutions. In this article, we will explore the 5 essential keys to the development of smart cities. Want to understand how technology can improve the quality of life in the near future? Stay to the end!

What are smart cities? 

Smart cities are urban areas that use a variety of digital technologies to improve the quality of life for residents, modernize infrastructure and government services, foster sustainability, and stimulate economic development. These cities are considered the future.

The governments of these cities leverage various technological solutions, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, blockchain and other advanced technologies to achieve a number of goals, such as:

  • Protecting residents and businesses
  • Improving accessibility
  • Supporting economic growth
  • Sharing information with the public
  • Managing the city’s resources
  • Offering user-friendly community services
  • Optimize government operations
  • Providing intelligent and reliable infrastructure
  • Promoting environmental sustainability
  • Encourage collaboration between agencies
  • Improving public transportation
  • Record and analyze open data to capture valuable information. 

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5 key aspects of smart cities 

The creation of sustainable and efficient cities through the use of technologies is not only an unavoidable global trend. It is also the only option to combat and minimize the serious environmental and socioeconomic impacts of urbanization on the future of the planet. Here are 5 essential areas of action to put smart cities into optimal operation.

smart cities

1. Integrated urban planning

The foundation of smart cities is sustainable, accessible and equitable urban planning.

By facilitating projects that use ICTs to reduce costs, improve the well-being of inhabitants and create new business models, integrated urban planning is promoted. All this, through financial aid or support measures for public-private partnerships.

An example of these initiatives is the intelligent management of public lighting with IoT devices. This saves costs and reduces emissions, improves energy efficiency and reduces light pollution. This not only improves the city, but also provides new markets and business opportunities.

Also, there is the construction of smart buildings, which aims to support communities on their way to becoming smart cities through financial aid and specialized training.

With the implementation of these urban structures, standardization, compatibility between systems, reuse and monitoring of the most effective initiatives will be promoted. In addition, a white paper will be created to advance the evaluation and management of cities together with smart destinations. 

2. Improvement of urban waste management and other sustainable actions. 

Smart city districts can generate different types and quantities of waste. Using technology based on sustainability measures, it is possible to obtain real-time information on the status of containers, for example.

By combining this information with a vehicle fleet management system, optimal cleaning routes can be planned based on collection needs, areas, volumes and types of waste.

Efficient municipal waste management is crucial to improve recycling, boost the circular economy and reduce environmental impact.

The monitoring of environmental parameters makes it possible to assess the quality of the urban environment and reduce environmental, light and noise pollution. Thanks to the use of IoT sensors, this data can be monitored in real time to gain an accurate understanding of the situation and make better informed decisions.

The monitoring of environmental parameters also makes it possible to measure data such as the concentration of CO₂, harmful particles and pollutants, as well as meteorological phenomena that can influence the operation of smart cities. 

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3. Transportation and sustainable mobility 

The promotion of sustainable and innovative transportation is essential to mitigate harmful gas emissions and improve air quality. To achieve this goal, the use of bicycles, public transportation, and electric vehicles should be promoted. Also, logistics in large urban areas must be addressed.

Bicycle-friendly road structures are gaining ground in cities around the world, including regions in Spain. 

In 2021, the Barcelona Metropolitan Area began work on the creation of seven cycle logistics centers in six municipalities, with the goal that 50% of light goods (and 25% of heavy goods) delivery in urban areas will be carried out by bicycle. Smart cities should prioritize this measure.

smart cities

4. Quality public spaces 

Quality and accessible public space is a key objective to encourage social interaction and physical activity.

To combat sedentary lifestyles, TECH friendly and Runnea, a running shoe comparison platform, have launched a free online service called Muviment. 

Today, companies use Big Data to support public and private organizations in defining and implementing innovation strategies in areas such as innovative urban projects.

This service is an online application that offers personalized eight-week workouts through artificial intelligence to improve health and prevent sedentary lifestyles. During the confinement, the application was successfully tested by several entities, including city councils and a county council. 

Barakaldo, one of the municipalities that tested the app, strives to be a healthy and smart city, with a wide variety of facilities for physical activity, green areas and sustainable mobility itineraries.

The city has improved its environment to promote a healthy lifestyle and has excelled in promoting the Bilbao Estuary as a place for healthy recreation.

5. Cybersecurity in public systems. 

The threats facing both IoT technologies and traditional IT systems are equally detrimental to smart cities.

Currently, one of the most common threats is ransomware that affects government and citizen services. In addition, IoT-connected applications and equipment are vulnerable to attacks, including city infrastructure, which can cause business losses and affect citizens.

To ensure the security of smart cities, it is necessary to implement basic cybersecurity measures such as:

  • Encryption and password policies.
  • IoT security solutions, such as security gateways and endpoint and network protection. 

It is essential that organizations that are part of smart cities adopt these means of security to ensure the integrity of data and communications.

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Smart cities are having an increasingly significant impact on the business world, driving innovation and improving the quality of life of citizens. 

If you want to keep up to date with the latest news in the world of smart cities and technology, we encourage you to subscribe to our library – stay informed and be part of the future!

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