By Alexander Landa

Smart cities really aren't a product of the future anymore. Cities around the world have already embraced pushing themselves to their limits, with many already employing the Internet of Things and smart devices to catapult their infrastructure to new heights. Over half of the entire world's population resides in urban areas, making it difficult to support such dense areas with existing architecture and resources. It's getting to the point that we need smart cities, rather than calling it a luxury. We need better ways to manage energy, transportation, and the transfer of data.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for addressing the problems that growing cities will face. It will be a sort of a-la-carte procedure with each city having different needs and unique means to meet the demands. 

Some congested cities like many in the UK aren't physically built to handle more vehicles on the road, meaning that will be an urgent priority. The answer isn't clear yet if that will mean fewer cars and more public transport, different commuting patterns, etc, but it will need to be near the top of the agenda.

Like other instances of urban planning, it's not as simple as constructing smart buildings and adding more solar panels that relay statistics to the city. Government officials will have to manage costs (which could actually be less than you might think), how to remove old infrastructure, and training individuals to make these changes.

It will all be worth it, though.

While some of the goals of smart cities are pretty straightforward like fulfilling a person's intrinsic need for technological advancement and pushing the human limit, there will be a significantly higher quality of life for everyone living in these urban areas. We will likely see less waste, better water treatments and retention, better housing options for growing populations, more jobs, more schools, organizations, and public utilities, improved air quality, and more.

It's not impossible, and it's already happening. It's a new and slightly intimidating concept that makes a lot of people nervous and skeptical, but think of the end result and how much better everyone will be once we're living in improved urban settings.

To learn more about smart cities, attend our upcoming Building Tech Forum this Thursday, February 16th at Fraunhofer Boston. Use the code BTF20 for 20% off any ticket type.


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