Where we are
Smart cities are fuelled by three things: technology companies, civic authority and citizen needs. Governments invest in technological advances that make life better and sign off on projects that improve urban life. Every city has a different vision for development based on its inhabitants, infrastructure and geographical location.
The exact innovations such as automatic streetlights and live parking updates do not define a smart city. Really these are the cities who are developing great relationships with technology and whose governments understand that fighting innovation is foolish. They invest wisely and use technology to improve ecological, economic and socio-cultural conditions in a time of rising urban populations.
Smart Cities are a market growing at an exponential rate according to every report.
“Smart Cities Market by Focus Areas…” published by Markets and Markets in 2017 that the smart city market will grow from 425$B in 2017 to 1.2$T in 2022. Persistence Market Research released a report in the same year than predicted smart cities to pass the 1 trillion market in 2019 and by 2026 hit 3.48 trillion.
Today 54% of people live in cities and this is expected to increase to 6 billion by 2045 meaning and added 2 billion urban residents.
Cities create more than 80% of global GDP, consume two thirds of the world’s energy and are accountable for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions.
The 21st century will be a century of cities
- Wellington Webb, Mayor of Denver
Civic government have a different attitude to government of nation state and are not afraid to engage their citizens when solving problems. Former Denver Mayor W Webb said “The 19th century was the century of empires, the 20th century was a century of nation states and the 21st century will be a century of cities” The dominant force consequently will be smart cities and their leaders.
Luckily for citizens smart cities have a different approach to the nation state in terms of their relationship with people and believe civic engagement to be a key factor in the successful sustainable development of cities. This is because they seem to be taking a more community centred approach to development, openly stating the importance of assessing citizen needs in urban areas before beginning planning. Although trust in government is declining, city government is of a different philosophy.
Where we’re going
Cities want participation and more than this they want to build strong communities of empowered people who not only have the tools for the co-creation of policy but are culturally expected to contribute. Smart cities mean smart citizens.
As leaders implement their strategies for smarter cities, they will be seeking technologies that can fulfil their needs especially tools that promote civic engagement and participation. This is because engaged citizens make sustainable change possible and sustainability is a key factor in a successful smart city.
The best way to bring people together to solve global problems isn’t through patriotism or one world incentives but to act at a local level, a civic level. When we encourage citizens, the inhabitants of our cities to act with smart city protocols in mind have the potential to repair the many damages of the last century.
Future engagement models
The missing tool for engagement is a communication channel between government and citizens. Most government apps are unused by citizens due to bad design and a lack of personal gain for participants.
Engagement is not simply voting every four years and people need to be able to talk to their leaders with something more quantifiable than social media.
Smart cities are by nature the catalyst that leads true democracy.
The solutions need to be intuitive, mobile and sophisticated.
Head of Content
March 7, 2018