As advancements in technology join the marketplace, cities are on the cusp of transformation and set to drastically improving the quality of life for citizens.
From smarter approaches to traffic, health services, transportation and waste management, cities are more responsive than ever and it has significant benefits for urban residents.
Smart city initiatives make use of a technology base, consisting of intelligent networks of connected devices and applications to enable more data-driven decision making. The advantages associated with smart cities, go beyond cost-saving and efficiency but also have a measurable impact on life quality indicators.
Municipal planners are realizing that in order to maximize smart-city strategies, people and residents should be at the focus. So does the quality of life matter? Ensuring that a city is liveable is critical to ensure sustainable growth. It’s about improving the well-being of residents but it’s also attracting new, valuable residents and boosting a city’s economic prospects.
This means municipal leaders should centre investments towards digital intelligence that deliver more meaningful and relevant results for citizens. Here are five examples of aspects of life quality that can be improved by smart innovations:
#1 A Cleaner Environment
Urbanization and consumption are growing and the prevalence of environmental pressures is rising. One of the main priorities for city planners nowadays is figuring out how to incorporate technology into the move towards a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
The world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste each year and municipal waste is only expected to rise. Smart cities are looking for data-driven methods of handling this and reducing the CO2 emissions generated by traditional methods of waste management.
Smart bin sensors and waste monitoring software allow cities to optimize their waste collections, boost recycling initiatives and switch to more sustainable practices. By only collecting bins when full as opposed to half-empty or empty eliminates inefficiencies and wasted fuel, driving time as well as the burden of overflowing containers.
Cities are responsible for the majority of the world’s economic activity, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Utilizing smart innovations to minimize emissions means cities can contribute to the UN sustainable development goals and even aim to become reach carbon neutrality. Most valuably, it can allow them to continue meeting the growing demands of citizens.
#2 Improved Public Health
COVID-19 has undoubtedly accelerated the advancement and adoption of data-driven health interventions. The potential role of technology in health care is broad, and with more innovations under development every day, the opportunities are vast. During the pandemic, many have improved patient engagement through connected mobile devices and applications.
An off-shoot of the Internet of Things (IoT) is the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), consisting of heart monitors and blood glucose monitors. It is transforming the connectedness of the medical field.
Making medical care more intelligent can allow for the prevention, treatment and monitoring of chronic conditions such as diabetes could make a tremendous impact on the world.
Data analytics can also enable cities to target those demographic groups with increased risk to certain health problems with communication regarding vaccinations, prevention etc.
#3 Crime and Safety
Intelligent technologies could help cities reduce crime by 30 to 40% and enable 20 to 35% faster response times for emergency services. Capturing detailed information in near real-time and sharing it through a dedicated public safety mobile app can allow for joint problem-solving.
Real-time and predictive crime mapping use statistical analysis to gain insights into patterns of crime in the area. Smart security and surveillance systems can also help optimize law enforcement as well as operational call centres. Overall, exchanging information so that authorities can deploy services more effectively helps to build safer communities.
#4 Mobility and the Daily Commute
Urban mobility is undergoing notable change and is a crucial factor in driving smart city innovation growth and improving citizen quality of life. Reducing commute time may seem like an arbitrary task, but it can seriously enhance a city’s scale for livability.
Cities that implement innovative mobility applications can cut commuting time by 15-20%. For example, underground railway systems can use sensors and digital signs to coordinate their services more efficiently and timely. Development can also be seen in the shift towards more needs-based services such as car and bike-sharing services.
Autonomous vehicles are also an exciting opportunity for smart cities. Smart, self-driving cars with automated pick-ups, drop-offs and charging are a cutting-edge innovation that will change the urban environment for good.
#5 Community and Connectedness
Smart cities can empower citizens to become more engaged in their surroundings and encourage a digital collaborative community. Establishing a more two-way interaction between the public and local authorities can allow city planners to be more responsive and choose solutions that can transform lives.
Becoming a smart city can feel like a burdensome task, but making room for public-private partnerships can help lessen the costs associated with adopting a technology base. Citizen engagement can also help to build trust and express transparency during the implementation of innovations.
Digital solutions for a more livable future are in reach, and focusing on improving life quality is a great place to start.
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