City Evolution | Creating Smarter Cities

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City Evolution | Creating Smarter Cities

by Andrew Bolwell

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.@HP Megatrends Blog: City Evolution: Creating Smarter Cities @HPSustainable #SmartCities #Sustainability
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 8:10am

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As millions of people move into cities every week, this puts a huge strain on space, city resources, energy requirements, and infrastructure cost. Cities are being forced to evolve to meet this increased demand, or collapse under the pressure.

This is leading to an increase in the number of Smart City projects — smart grids, networked LED street lights, public Wi-Fi, water management, etc. — that are being implemented around the world, with the number of initiatives nearly doubling over the past few years.

Technology advancements in sensors, edge computing, networks, data platforms, cloud, and services will drive greater adoption and investment, leading to new huge and growing business opportunities, with a market value of $1.5 trillion by 2020. This will be especially evident in emerging economies, where many of the largest and most populous cities will be in the future.

As more people flock to cities, the demand for housing has also increased — as have prices. For the growing contingent of millennials who are faced with a slowly recovering economy, affordability and availability of housing is a challenge, especially in large cities like New York, San Francisco, London, and Hong Kong. To deal with this supply-demand imbalance, micro-housing has become a key trend in U.S. cities, with San Francisco, Seattle and Boston all passing zoning laws to allow for apartments of 400 square feet or less. In 2016, New York City went so far as to approve legislation that lifted a city ban on apartments smaller than 400 square feet.

And as more people move to cities and cities become more congested, co-working spaces are also on the rise. There are over 11,000 co-working spaces around the world, and that number is expected to reach close to 14,000 by the end of this year. Freelancers, startups and even corporations are using co-working spaces to spark creativity and inspiration, while saving on real estate costs in expensive cities.

However, with more people moving to dense cities and megacities, pollution has also been on the rise. So much so that cities now produce nearly 75% of the world’s greenhouse emissions. Due to global warming, each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880. As a result, nearly 700 cities around the world recently committed to a 100% renewable energy transition by 2050. Some cities like Dubai fear that if this heat wave continues over the next two decades, it would be uninhabitable for its citizens to stay, let alone work outside. As a result, they are looking at alternatives such as creating the world’s first climate-controlled domed city, which will accommodate the world’s largest shopping center, over 100 hotels, and a wellness district for medical tourists.

Better connectivity, cheaper sensor components, higher levels of artificial intelligence, and data extraction, will allow smart cities of the future to not only reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, but also provide a far more efficient environment. 24/7 high-speed Internet connectivity will allow people to work, learn and play wherever they want. Remote workspaces, outdoor classrooms and always-available learning will create enriched experiences, while reducing dependency on brick and mortar environments.

The Great City being developed outside of Chengdu, China gives us a glimpse into what is possible. The city is designed with a central core of vertical housing offering efficient living space for 80,000 people, and surrounded by greenspace for growing food. The car-less city is entirely walkable, with the outer reaches accessible through mass transit. The design is expected to use 48% less energy and 58% less water than existing cities of comparable size. In addition, it is expected to generate 89% less landfill waste, and 60% less carbon dioxide.

The smart cities of the future will be able to not only adopt, but scale to these exponential technologies and services. Giving birth to the future Silicon Valleys and Wall Streets of the world — many of which will be in emerging markets.

City evolution offers each of us an opportunity to think smarter about products, services, cities, homes, and offices. Making our lives, work, and play richer and more fulfilling.