Digital Revolution

Chapter 4 - SMART CITIES

The future of our cities

Our society keeps to evolve over time and it is highly related to technological improvements. In this part of the book, we aimed to analyze how those changes are going to affect cities. We give a picture of how our megalopolis will look like in a near future.

First of all, with the rise of information systems, governments now have access to a huge amount of data on its citizens. This allows societies to understand what special needs its people have. As these forces collide, every big cities on earth will evolve into places where technology is highly implicated, adapted to local needs. The upcoming decade is the opportunity for governments to improve their services. To fight poverty significantly and reduce inequalities.

In the past, the human ability to understand what problems the society had to face with the help of the accumulation of data was highly limited. The last few decades, our aptitude to collect, compute and understand those information started to grow but was often misleading because of a lack of demographic consensus. However, today, human capacity exploded and we are now able, not perfectly but at a comfortable level, to take important information out of data. Not to say that our technological progress is not on the loose, it means that we will be going even further. Data analysis will input on every decisions, such as how infrastructure are built, how is the urban habitat managed, what will be the new policies, how society will be driven and so on. These analysis and simulation will be available to everyone, open to anyone that looks for it. This data sharing will also have a huge impact on how cities will look like. Finally, this is the key to improvement, data sharing has often been the mother of innovation. These are the challenges that our actual society has to put up a fight against in order to evolve into the supra-technological future cities.

Takling of future cities, we can also underline the future houses being equipped with smart objects: Fridge where you will be able to shop, the coffee table will become a tactil tablet and controm your bathroom from your iPad etc (we will explain what is smart objects in the chapter 6). The interconnected house. In a TED talk show the host explains how Google glasses will influence our world. Will wearing them our living room will have a huge tactil TV, a fire place, a nice coach, pictures on the wall, the man wearing them can even meet people with them. But when he takes them of, we notice that he is still sitting in his living room with white walls and just a coach.

The role and the future of IT

A smart city uses “digital technologies to enhance performance and wellbeing, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens”. The purpose of smart cities is also linked to society challenges such as climate change and also to the economy in itself (employment, education, industries). Let’s start from this literal definition of Smart Cities.

In one hand, the use of IT is a real challenge in a society guided by technologies and innovation. It is the future of our development. Let’s take the example of the “cloud”, which enables citizens to be more productive in their work or life. It is a fact for modern societies, cities want to operate and transform their systems and service delivery to be more effective against the rise of competition. The interest is also to attract new residents and new companies to increase wealth. The concept of smart cities is linked to three categories: management to better develops the society (public safety, smarter buildings, agency administration), infrastructure (water, transportation or energy) and people (social programs or education). These categories conduct to a new world where IT is better used.

On the other hand, it will be a way to create a more sustainable world and “urbanize” technology to help ecology. Technological controls on infrastructure could provide real-time information if modifications are needed. Also, it could anticipate on global phenomena related to climate change. For instance, during Katrina in the US, smarter infrastructure would have helped to better respond from flood because the system could have adjusted by itself against disturbances.

Until now, these technologies have not yet been introduced in our society. There is still the question of hackers: in our world, the economy depends on satellite network so we will have to reinforce its control. This is the new “men challenge”.

Technologies serving citizen's life and the society

Smart cities use all available technologies to become sustainable , responsible and environmentally friendly. Improving the daily life of citizens and their quality of life remains a major challenge for local authorities but efforts are intensified to ensure that their citizens are involved in the governance of it. Through the system of "Big Data" and means of communication , they now have the opportunity to give their views on the policy of the city facilitating communities to make decisions in accordance with the expectations of their citizens .

Traditional services (water, gas, electricity, public transportation , public facilities ) integrate more digital to be managed effectively and quickly. Cities begin to develop "smart" infrastructures that are able to regulate themselve. We also see appear digital technologies that are installed directly on all types of structures that can deliver relevant information ( electric meters, public bins ) to control and improve their system.

What are these technologies that assist us and make our lives easier in a Smart City?

In general, the Smart Cities make their most personal utility to create a bespoke service to each citizen. Technology can assist us in real-time to facilitate the citizen 's life.

Digital brings new consumption patterns. For example, through sensors that interact in real time with the citizen, they can master their consumption of water, electricity , heat, and related expenses.

Digital is synonymous with speed of movement, sensors on the buses possible to know in due time their locations to display in real time the bus stops and on our mobile phones .

The growing use of smartphones as urban sensors, which is reflected in the trend of "crowd-sourcing social" allow the development of citizenship applications or collaborative sites creating a sharing economy. The Smart City allows the citizens of inter-connectivity with their representatives in order to make local politics a participatory governance.

4G networks are installed in all neighborhoods to stay connected.

How Smart Cities make our effective and sustainable societies?

Take the city of Stockholm that focuses in recent years on energy efficiency. In 2011, she set up in its train station a heat recovery system generated by travelers to heat nearby offices. It also has a pneumatic system for collecting sorted waste. The people throw their waste in the container. The tanks, connected to the pneumatic system with one container are emptied at the same time. Waste is sucked into the same circuit and analyzed to highlight data on the quantities of waste sorted, and the habits of the residents in this area.

The city 2.0

In this part, we're going to put up a list of what main changes our futures cities will present. According to many TED conferences, there are many key concepts to the future cities, often called "City 2.0".

Designing for disabilities : This is already starting, we already have sound-sensors at red lights in many cities for blind people, soft ramps for those on wheelchairs and many technologies are created for other disabilities. However, it is nothing compared to what our future cities will look like. Each megalopolis will be designed for all kind of disabilities. It will also be way easier for elder people as well as kids.

Human-powered data : In the future, citizens will be able to easily post requests on a data base that concern the society. And what's important is that other citizens will be able to reply and a conversation will start. Local authors can edit the questions and answer them. (It would work the same way as this book was created). Garbage anthropology. In our future cities, garbage will not be thrown away randomly as it is the case today. Each piece will be recycled. This is essential for the survival of our cities.

World-class sidewalks : People will be encouraged to walk or use their bikes for many reasons. First it is a green energy, which has no cost for individuals; human today do not do much exercise and it would provide the solution and finally, it would highly reduce noise pollution and particles emissions.

Silent parks : As our cities will grow, the human need for silent places will explode. In order to stay in touch with nature, have a break with technologies and let humans have a place where to think and meditate. It is well known that, the more developed is a city, the more noise it produces. Silent park will be the solution to a primitive need, to get away from our busy lives.

The city 3.0

If we talk about City 2.0 we must also approach the notion of 3.0.

What the 3.0 induced: Smart city supposed 6 things: smart economy, smart environment, smart people, smart living, smart mobility and smart governance.

To know more about it we can analyse 4 success factors:

Open source leader : Entrepreneurship is and will definitely be the key to succeed in a smart economy. Thus, start-ups will have a huge impact because of their mutual connection with mainstream industry.

Infrastructure : Silent places like in 2.0 but also THIRD places. These are places which are outside your home or your office, and make your work possible (spot wifi in a Park etc.). We know the notion of do it “anywhere and at anytime”… it deals with it. Example: citywide Wifi, city’s application, high-speed communication lines,

Ultimate service provider : Axed on the business of platforms such as Amazon, Apple or AirBnB, it will consist in closer relationships between suppliers and clients. Besides, citizens will interact between each other to give services to another through smart applications. As people “will have more smartphones or tablets than desktops or toothbrush” said Sacramento Mayor, it will permit to ask directly to the citizens what kind of ameliorations they want etc.

Intelligence of things : Is a computing concept that describes a future where every day physical objects will be connected to each other in order to facilitate our way of life. It’s called web 3.0.

Do you know Songdo ? Songdo (South Korea) is by definition and approach the kind of city of the future, the smart city. Connected, eco-friendly, economic, through several aspects, it becomes more than a city by providing an enhanced experience to those living in it. For example in this city there is no more paper books, screens replace pupils…

Therefore, such a project is possible with smartgrid aiming to make the cities far more intelligent which will improve our daily life.

Tel Aviv : Smart City 2014, the model to follow

The information technology and communications (ICT) are a key factor for cities to reason a "smart" way. A Smart City is one with at least one initiative on one or more of the following six characteristics: intelligent governance, Smart People, Smart Living, Smart Mobility, smart economy and environment. ICT links and strengthens networks of people, businesses, infrastructure, resources, energy and space, and to provide organizational and intelligent governance tools.

In 2014, Tel Aviv receives international recognition by winning first prize in the World Smart Cities Award at Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, beating 250 competitors. Tel Aviv was also ranked one of the most innovative cities in the world by Citibank and the Wall Street Journal, and as such is the global leader in innovative technologies.

At the heart of this emerging movement, a technological management data of the revolution and IT ecosystems "Big Data". Some initiatives are intended to improve municipal services, improve residents' quality of life and create the conditions for sustainable urban development. Before this show, the active and intelligent part of the city using technology to increase civic engagement and ensuring a city that is accessible and suitable for all. The digital project includes a mobile application, a geographic information system (GIS), a contest application development based on open databases, online registration and more. So these are the establishment of incubators, more than 700 star-ups, transmission 80 wireless terminals in the city and in particular the Digi-like device (multi-use city plan) that will make the difference.

Smart cities, including Tel Aviv are models and the rest of the world falls in step as recently demonstrated by the British government, which launched Jan. 29, 2015, an initiative to give new impetus to the development of its smart cities.

Smart Cities : How to use a partcipative governance to reach new goals ?

** In a world in which one the urbanisation rate do not stop to grow – from 48% in 1990 to 60% in 2014 – and in a complicated economic context since 2008, an innovator urbanisation concept gains ground to respond to the new problems and needs that arouses the particular situation of the last six years.

 This innovator concept is the “Smart Cities” and we have to know the different aspects of this notion to understand how the cities being involved in such a project manage to create a participative governance in the service of social, economical, political  and environmental goals.

 Cities that get into this new kind of urbanisation are more and more numerous, among which ones Paris, New-York or even Tel-Aviv, last winner of the “World Smart City Award” against more than 250 cities in competition the 24 November of 2014 in Barcelona.

All these cities made the choice to turn towards a participative governance to involve the population in this emergent movement. At the heart of this notion of “Smart City”, a real technological revolution of data and informatics systems management is developing at all levels, a revolution that specialist named “Big Data Management”. This is this new system of data management that permits to envisage a sensitive evolution of decisional infrastructures.

 Smart cities’ goals concerned all sectors. The Big Data is a way to encourage social cohesion on one hand between citizens and between citizens and state institutions on the other hand. Indeed, the technological progress - thanks in particular to the development of 3G and 4G networks, to the installation of WIFI hotspots and to the creation of important informatics projects – permits a more efficient management of communication infrastructures. The optimisation of communication medias – thanks to a R&D sector more and more supported – has an impact on the economic plan of these smart cities that manage to benefit of the technological progress and to perfectly use it to maximize their performance. Indeed, the smart cities represent a wide market which attracts private business, which cooperates with state institutions elected people to equip these ambitious cities. So the smart city is also an economic driving force, a way to boost again mechanisms which seem locked since 2008. This new urbanisation process doesn’t ignore environmental issues that reign over each innovation for 10 years. Smart Cities raise awareness among population about their electric or water consumption thanks to sensors put at citizens’ disposal for instance. These cities are trying to prove that waste is not invincible.

 Even if this concept of urbanisation is currently in vogue, it continues to collide with some limits that partisans of the movement try to grow back step by step. Indeed, the “Big Data” concept is still something that people fear because they are scared about a privacy loss or by a spying excess by state institutions over citizens. Legislators are so – for the moment – a barrier to the evolution of this concept which has to find different funding ways than state subventions, often too low for such a project.

 The stake of years to come for partisans of the concept will be to prove that it is compatible with the protection of individuals’ private life and that it fit into the project of “Safe City” necessary to boost the economic situation that locked cities since 2008.******