Smart Cities

A smart city possesses vital information and communication technologies that are implemented to positively impact the community, environment and improve health. A city can be defined as “smart” when investments in human and social capital and traditional and modern communication infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development.

Smart Infrastructure

One way smart cities are making more efficient use of physical infrastructure, such as roads, buildings and parks, is through artificial intelligence and data analytics to support strong and healthy economic, social and cultural development.

Today, there are 100 million water meters in the U.S., but only 20 percent of them are considered smart meters. Smart cities incorporate smart water meters to monitor water and measure its flow. Hydraulic improvements allow lower system pressure, which reduces the amount of energy needed to pump and distribute water.

Other measures:

  • Delivery systems to reduce CO2 emissions:
    • Drone and grocery delivery
  • Driverless car systems to reduce traffic collisions, emissions and congestion
    • Automated taxis could reduce greenhouse emissions by 90 percent
  • Sensors reduce traffic and signal repairs
    • Roadways, buildings, bridges and dams equipped with sensors provide regular readings on their state or wear and tear, signaling when repairs are needed

Smart Urban Development

City street with bicycle lane

Sustainable cities meet the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own unique needs. The ideal sustainable city creates an enduring way of life across four key spectrums: ecology, economy, politics and culture.

Individualized motorized traffic causes the highest emissions per RPK (revenue passenger kilometers) and consumes most of the space available.  Thus, eco-friendly transportation must be available in smart cities. Mass transit, bike lanes, ride-sharing programs, electric vehicles and greenways offer alternative ways to reduce emissions.

Urban gardening, farming and agriculture can supply entire towns with ample food and security to create a truly sustainable urban environment.  For example, imagine a scenario in which each building or clusters of buildings treat their own wastes and extract the resources to produce heat, electricity and soil for gardens to grow food. A smart, urban city consists of clustered and nested networks that greatly minimize the reliance on single purpose large-scale infrastructure.


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