The Urban Century: Cities On The Brink Of Collapse
Around the globe, 200,000 people become city dwellers every day, adding up to over 70 million per year. By 2050, more than six billion people will be living in urban areas. Around one trillion US Dollars will need to be invested just into India’s urban infrastructure alone to meet the present backlog and provide for future city dwellers until 2030.
Globally, urban areas already account for 75% of primary energy use and for more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By 2025, more than 5 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) will be produced on a daily basis. One billion people are estimated to live in slums today. Cities are on the brink of collapse as these problems are mounting.
The Opportunity: Creating Smart Cities To Improve Human Life
We have to rethink about our cities and turn them into resource efficient, socially inclusive, economically dynamic, environmentally sustainable, and intelligently managed spaces for human coexistence. We have to seize the opportunity to create smart cities.
A smart city offers enhanced living conditions for all its citizens. It does so by optimizing public services and resource use through analyzing “big data”: From the number of available parking spots in a certain neighborhood, to the current utilization of the electricity grid, to the frequency of someone reporting symptoms of the flu. Capturing that data allows for efficient decision-making and technology-based participation.
The Challenge: Turning Smart Cities Into Reality
The urgency to add “smartness” to ever-growing urban areas has been recognized by the public and private sectors alike. The Government of India invested 1.2 billion US Dollars into smart cities in FY 2014-15. The European Commission initiated an innovation partnership for smart cities and communities in 2014. Model cities and pilot projects are emerging all around the globe.
Yet, while the private sector provides the technology to capture and analyze data – the “operating system” of smart cities – the role of the public sector remains largely unclear. For the companies pushing for Smart Cities, the global market for smart-city technologies is expected to reach a staggering value of 7 trillion US Dollars by 2020. But what is the appropriate technology for a city like Delhi, Dublin, Dubai, or Durban?
Addressing The Challenge: From Ad-hoc Actions To A Structured Framework
Technology alone does not turn any city into a smart city. A well thought-out framework is needed to identify appropriate technologies and policies for a city to become “smart”.
The International Course on Smart Cities enables participants to develop and apply a well-structured smart-city framework, enabling responsive city-specific strategies.