What Smart Cities Look Like Around the Globe

The UN predicts that by the year 2050, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will reside in cities. That requires cities to find solutions to current problems so they can thrive in the future. How does this “smart city” of the future come to be? Electronics and technology, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT), are helping cities prepare for the future.  

2018 has shown a trailblazing movement toward the smart city. Cities that strive for the “smart” status can look to examples of those currently setting the example. Here are the top five:

1. London

Phone booths are being replaced by sidewalk kiosks that provide free Wi-Fi, city information, and device charging capabilities. Last summer, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, launched the Smart Cities Roadmap to improve the city’s data collection practices. Devices like smart lamp posts will monitor air pollution and report findings to citizens via an app.

Healthcare is also another way IoT is being put to use to make London a smart city. In spring 2018, more than 26,000 people have registered for London’s new telehealth platform, which allows patients to receive medical advice and book appointments online.

2. Singapore

The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) has implemented IoT into the fabric of the city, allowing it to tackle many transportation challenges. The Intelligent Transport System (ITS) has made way for electronic road pricing, allowing toll fees to rise along with congestion and for traffic information to be accessible in taxis. It also collaborates with public transit by communicating train and bus arrival times, making them run on time.

In addition, Smart Nation Singapore allows residents to check on the progress of the city’s development and technology advancements like green buildings. With these impressive developments, it’s no wonder Singapore was awarded Smart City of 2018 at the Smart City World Expo Congress.

3. Chicago

Even though it is behind smart cities like Singapore, Chicago leads the way for smart cities in the United States. The Array of Things project is installing sensors on the streets to collect data on traffic, sound, air quality, water, and temperature. Since residents can access this information, they help the city shape its future. The project is also helping to better time traffic lights. The project has already been installed in Wrigley Field to measure weather, sound, and the level of enjoyment from the fans.

4. San Francisco

Through several initiatives, San Francisco is utilizing its geographical advantage of being near the innovation of Silicon Valley. The Heat Vulnerability Index, spearheaded by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), uses satellite imagery to collect data on demographics like culture and behavior. The Neighborhood Health App ranks the quality of neighborhoods throughout the city by gathering data from private feeds and local, state, and federal agencies. City residents can access the data on their local schools, air quality, crime rates, access to public transit, public safety issues, and more.

5. Tokyo

Japan’s capital city has begun several green initiatives to increase energy efficiency, strengthen infrastructure, and maintain the city’s smart nature. Some of them include regulating temperature, protecting natural environments, and more. These efforts aim to accommodate the increasing population and climate change. Tokyo’s goal through the green initiatives are to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide at least 25 percent by 2020.  

As population increases, demands on cities are bound to do so as well. Hubs for life and culture make it necessary for cities to preserve resources and make operations more efficient. The Internet of Things is the way to make cities smarter, allowing citizens to have a higher quality of life in the metropolises they call home.