The cities of the future will be more technologically advanced than they are today, but we can already see where our future is heading when we look at modern cities like Oslo and Singapore. Smart cities are the way of the future, and these impressive city structures will improve the living environment for everyone while being better for the planet as well, all by using advanced technologies and careful urban planning.
Urban Planning and Tech Cities
A great deal of urban planning goes into developing new tech cities. It’s not easy selecting the location of a city of the future. Many different types of property must come together and form one cohesive ecosystem that meets the needs of locals, and nearly every significant city established today is located on or close to a major waterway. Even cities found within the center of the United States mostly depend on major rivers to meet their needs.
Water is essential to the life of most cities because it’s the most efficient way to transport goods at a massive level. Huge ships loaded down with supplies help a city meet the needs of its residents effectively. Without regular shipments of goods, most cities wouldn’t be able to survive for long. This is because so many people are organized into a narrow location. The land itself, no matter how well it’s chosen, cannot meet the needs of all its residents. This is why San Francisco, Boston, Beijing, New York, New Orleans, Venice, Bangkok, Perth, and so many others are all built up around the water.
What Are Smart or Tech Cities?
Smart cities are modern-day metropolises that rely on technology to maintain a successful and comfortable living space for all residents. By using lots of sensors and automated systems, and advanced artificial intelligence, a city can be made more efficient than traditional cities.
Modern technologies can help solve problems such as waste removal, public transportation, crime, the transportation of goods, and more.
Traditionally, cities haven’t been able to provide for their resident’s needs without importing many goods. This is why the majority of successful cities are based on or around water. Smart cities aim to produce more for residents and to use more sustainable power practices.
These cities will rely on renewable energy sources more, will focus more heavily on urban agricultural practices, and will attempt to make transportation efficient enough to reduce the resources consumed on moving people around on a daily basis.
Most smart cities are still being developed, but as technology progresses and we develop things like vertical farming, more sophisticated renewable energy practices, enhanced artificial intelligence, and better use of big data, we get closer to creating the perfect city that can provide for its inhabitants in a way that allows them all to live comfortable and healthy lives.
Looking at the Technologies Used in Smart Cities
Smart cities depend on specific technologies to function, and those technologies are things like the internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, and sustainable energy and living technologies.
Internet of Things
Each year more devices are designed to connect to the internet and communicate in some way. There are refrigerators that can alert you when you’re out of milk. You can get smoke alarms and sensors for your home that tell you when something is going wrong, facial recognition in buildings to allow automatic access, and many people wear watches that will tell them when they’re having a heart attack and even alert the paramedics to come and help.
These devices are all part of the growing internet of things, and smart cities will rely on that concept even more than we already are. All the vehicles will communicate with one another to help manage traffic congestion. Even buildings will talk, letting the city know where people are concentrated, which spaces need heating or cooling, what infrastructure is wearing away, and what lights should be on or off.
Most of us are familiar with smart homes and their ability to shut off lights, adjust the temperature at night or when you’re at work, and even to clean themselves with the advent of robotic vacuum cleaners. Smart cities will use similar concepts to take care of many tasks that we currently handle ourselves in cities. With so much automation and communication occurring within a smart city, it can manage itself better, and many problems that current cities face can be resolved by a smart city that’s configured properly.
Big Data Management
Massive smart cities will come equipped with countless cameras, traffic sensors, temperature sensors, and other monitoring devices. Not to mention all the moving vehicles sharing their transportation data. All this information will be gathered into massive databases where it’s analyzed by artificial intelligence. Advanced algorithms will use the data to decide how to manage the city’s traffic, where to move food products and other goods throughout the city, what crops to grow, how to manage waste, and so much more.
Smart cities record and analyze data so they know how to govern themselves efficiently. These advanced cities don’t have to rely on guesses when making decisions; they just use the recorded data to do the most logical thing. This is one key advantage that smart cities have to leverage, and they will all collect and process vast amounts of data to have a kind of brain of their own that manages everything.
Automated Communication Mechanisms
Maintaining large cities is a challenging endeavor, and current cities almost work against their residents to try and handle garbage collection, maintain safe roads and keep public spaces clean. Smart cities will leverage all the citizens to help with these tasks. By enabling members of the city to report potential issues in real-time, a smart city can remain up-to-date about every possible problem and know exactly what to resolve first.
Sustainable Energy and Waste Practices
Most cities today are far from sustainable, but the smart cities of the future are going to be. They will rely on renewable energy sources such as solar farms and even more innovative solutions such as tidal generators to create the power needed for their residents.
The cities will manage waste and water more efficiently and will produce a great deal of food within the footprint of the city. By producing food nearby, the city will manage its carbon footprint better in a few ways. Less fuel will be required to transport goods into the city, and the plants in the city will naturally help filter carbon out of the air and create oxygen for locals. Imagine a city that smells fresh like a forest and that’s free from smog. That’s the goal of modern smart cities in development, and developing cities around the ideas of vertical farming, renewable energy, better waste management, composting, and other sustainable practices is a key concept for these new cities that promote environmental protection.
The Smart Cities of Today and the Future
Some of our current cities display examples of technologies working to improve living conditions on a small scale. Cities like Singapore and Oslo show what’s possible in smart cities of the future and how we can design living environments that put humans first and make life more enjoyable.
Singapore is well-known as a modern and futuristic city, but we’re going to get into a few details that make the city particularly special. Singapore has an aging population, and to keep up with the health needs of its residents, they wear internet of things devices that communicate information about their health to local professionals. The country has normalized virtual health appointments, and telemedicine appointments are how patients are usually seen. The country is pushing to remove vehicles; it gathers information about its residents’ whereabouts and actively manages traffic, trash, and other public needs by using this information. It’s innovations like these that keep Singapore one of the leading smart cities in the world.
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is a smaller city with approximately 670,000 residents, but it utilizes some advanced technologies and somewhat radical commitments to offer a better environment for its residents. The city has a grid of more than 650,000 interconnected LED lights that adjust light output dynamically based on residential needs. The city is also committed to having only electric vehicles within its limits by 2025 and is on track to achieving that goal thanks to incentives and initiatives. Oslo is currently using license plate scanners to learn traffic patterns in an effort to improve traffic congestion and make the city more usable.
The Line is an ambitious, smart city project currently in development in Saudi Arabia. This massive reflective building is expected to stretch 170 km (106 miles) in length through the desert and offer ideal living conditions for its residents without the need for roads, pollution, or long commute times. The city features public transportation that travels from one end to the other every 20 minutes and is meant to be full of vertical gardens that keep its residents immersed in nature at all times. The design of the city makes it completely sustainable, and it’s meant to house up to 9 million individuals in total. The city comes out near the ocean on one end, but much of it runs through the desert that isn’t currently being used for other development projects. The Line seems like an idea out of science fiction, but much of the technology that’s going to be used in its development already exists and is being used elsewhere in a smaller way.
Smart Cities are the Way of the Future
Smart cities are a natural progression for us to move towards as a society. These large cities will utilize our technological advancements in different ways to allow us to live more comfortably. Our current cities aren’t efficient or sustainable, but the smart cities of the future will attempt to remedy that issue with the clever use of technology and careful planning.
Author Bio: Ben is a Web Operations Executive at InfoTracer who takes a wide view from the whole system. He authors guides on entire security posture, both physical and cyber.