Australia, England & Wales, Global, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa Technology

Bringing smart cities full circle, how cities are using tech to improve all aspects of liveability


Image by Chikai Du from Pixabay

This week’s Global Local Recap focuses on smart cities, but what is a smart city? And how can you tell how smart it really is? Academic Boyd Cohen developed the smart cities wheel as a framework for developing indicators toward whether technology is being used to enhance the quality of life and happiness of its citizens.

See our latest bundle on Smart Cities including our latest free Global Local Recap bulletin

Smart government is using tech to support the principles of good democracy – like transparency through open data and helping citizens connect with decision making as well as embracing better technology to run the business of government.

See San Francisco’s technology strategy and read about the Nordic smart city models that are taking a new approach to governance in this Demos Helsinki report.

Smart living is about the framework of health, housing and safety as well as having a culturally vibrant community.

Partnerships between power companies, local, state and Federal governments in the Southeastern US have seen the development of smart neighborhoods that are fuel efficient and provide a better standard of living. See this Southern Company video from the first development established near Birmingham, Alabama (and see more about the smart city/ smart neighborhoods plans)

Smart environment is about using our natural resources and energy more efficiently and supporting a green infrastructure for people and nature.

Copenhagen, Google and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands partnered in Project Air which produced hyperlocal maps of air quality which are viewable by citizens and useable by city planners to ensure better air quality across the city.

Real time data can also help with resilience and managing a sustainable environment. Find out about Dublin’s flood sensing network.

Smart economy focuses on supporting innovation and entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for all parts of the population.

The City of Boston has wealth building and supporting an inclusive economy at the core of its smart city strategy Imagine Boston 2030. It focuses on supporting tech industries and creating opportunity corridors alongside the other dimensions of smart city planning.

Tel Aviv is promoting itself as a Start Up city with a range of networking and support opportunities for new businesses and products that support better living for residents and visitors.

Smart people – improving educational and career opportunities inclusively, sparking creativity and creating connection and community.

Fontana Unified School District and the City of Fontana in California knew that about half their kids had no access to wifi and when schools went remote during the pandemic that was a huge problem that could exacerbate the learning gap. In partnership with a broadband provider they created a digital network to get all their students online. Read about other school districts that have gone the extra mile in this New America report.

Cities like Vancouver are using sensing technology to develop urban heat maps and places like Boston are using art and creativity to combat urban heat islands making cities more liveable as well as sparking creativity and making connections.

Smart mobility is about using technology to help people get where they need to go using different forms of integrated transportation.

See Brisbane’s Smart, Connected Cities strategy both for the whole range of indicators and its particular focus on smart mobility. Including traffic sensing, better buses and smart light railway, the ‘congestion busting’ approach means that real time data for the city and its citizens can be used to help people get where they need to go faster and more efficiently.

Montreal has developed a number of smart mobility solutions, including using data to give assess street priority for public transportation, delivery, emergency vehicles and private cars. Its latest project LocoMotion encourages car and bike sharing to increase neighbourhood mobility.

See our latest bundle of resources on smart cities including our latest Global Local Recap with examples of innovation and inspiration from around the world. 


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