HOW TO MOVE TOWARDS SMARTER CITIES
A smart city is a technologically modern urban area that uses different types of electronic methods and sensors to collect specific data. In other words, smart cities are responsive cities that are able to receive, process and return efficient information and services.
The way to make a smart city successful is to capture the soul of a place and connect it with impactable technology. There are seven steps can help us better move towards smart cities.
Figure 1: The picture of the Smart City
1. Institutional capability
The foundation of any smart city is its institutional capabilities. Without human capital and efficient administrative structures, smart cities can’t be built.
In addition, the physical structure is also important. If a city hall doesn’t have telephones, Internet and meeting rooms, efficient management would be difficult to achieve.
Figure 2: Institutional capability
2. Management capability
This demand on how to build smart cities drives market investment. From small businesses to large corporations, everyone wants to sell their products to municipalities. But if cities still use paper-based processes which waste so many time unnecessarily, this will significantly discourage investors from investing.
So that the second step of a smart city is to improve its management capabilities, which can significantly reduce wasted time. In Brazil, a public software portal was created to help the government solving various information technology problems.
Figure 3: Brazilian Public Software Website
3. Information collection and processing capabilities
Large cities require huge data collection and management capabilities. We can’t just base citizen participation on public hearings which would lead to weak data collection. Therefore, creating a smart city not only requires the establishment of a friendly interactive platform, but also requires qualitative analysis of the collected information.
4. Environmental monitoring
Global warming affects the global climate and natural environment, and only cities with strong resilience could overcome the difficulties. Public administrations need to effectively understand stormwater, soil structure and traffic so that they can nip problems before they happen, and predict, observe, respond to the environment in real time.
Figure 4: Environmental monitoring map
5. Territorial management
Building a smart city is a multidisciplinary endeavor that involves many fields. Therefore, another necessary step for smart cities is territorial management —- an efficient municipality must be able to effectively manage the areas where all urban phenomena occur.
Therefore, it is important to draw the local map which need contain the public facilities, public spaces, barrier-free sidewalks to help people deeply understand the city. Smart cities will not survive without clear and applicable urban standards and a master plan with long-term action and urban control.
Figure 5: Flood risk areas map
6. Financial autonomy
Maintaining a smart city needs to pay the price. Although it costs much less than inefficient cities, it still requires resources. Therefore, financial autonomy is crucial. If a regional municipal revenue sources are beyond the municipal control, its administration will be less efficient.
That’s why a tax system with clear and socially fair rules in the hands of an efficient and responsive state could transform smart cities. The closer the management of public resources is, the easier social control will be and citizens will understand their responsibilities as well.
Figure 6: The picture of money
All of us want a city that has institutional capability, Management capability, Information collection and processing capabilities, environmental monitoring, territorial management and be financial autonomy. However, it also lacks the final step that makes smart cities actually ahead of all other cities: leadership.
Figure 7: Leadership team
Cities cannot reinvent themselves, and every innovative initiative needs someone to make it happen by placing this agenda at the center of municipal debate. A good urban planning leader and leadership team are important guarantees for the further development of smart cities.
The construction of smart cities cannot only rely on the seven steps. Besides good methods, we also need the government and residents work together to create a beautiful future.
Bruno Ávila, 2017, Sete passos para cidades mais inteligentes.
Kaley Overstreet, 2020, Smart Cities abrindo o caminho para um futuro inteligente.
Figure 1 source from https://www.rand.org/pubs/commentary/2021/02/tech-alone-isnt-enough-to-create-a-successful-smart.html
Figure 2 source from https://cursos.iadb.org/en/indes/pla/institutional-capacity-assessment
Figure 3 source from https://softwarepublico.gov.br/social/search/software_infos?utm_medium=website&utm_source=archdaily.com.br
Figure 4 source from https://www.digi.com/blog/post/what-is-environmental-monitoring
Figure 5 source from https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/parks-leisure-and-culture/arts-and-culture/popular-local-maps
Figure 6 source from https://coinunited.io/news/en/2023-10-25/crypto/cunews-apple-s-project-breakout-a-move-towards-financial-autonomy-and-tech-driven-innovation
Figure 7 source from https://www.imsa-search.com/articles/leadership-2022-style/