‘’A pilot European smart city’’

A few months ago, for the needs of our graduate course on Smart Cities, our Professor Betty Tsakarestou challenged us to explore the globe and find out what makes a city sustainable, smart or simply better for its habitants to live in. Our team (Christina Charalampidou, Marieta Christopoulou and Effie Tzoumani) chose Latin America to begin with and then slowly moved to our most familiar continent, so here are some of our favorite European City Stories: Barcelona, Lisbon, Berlin, and Istanbul.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul

Alphonse de Lamartine says that if one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul, but what we know about Istanbul? In Istanbul live over 14 million people and is the only city in the world which is both in Europe and Asia geographically. Istanbul was the capital city of three major Empires: Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, and Ottoman Empire during their rule. Grand Bazaar is the biggest old covered bazaar in the world, with over 3.000 shops as well as Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world for about 900 years.

Hagia Sophia

At the moment there are two international airports; one on the Asian side one on the European side and the third one is under construction. Istanbul was announced by the European Union as the 2010 European Capital of Culture because of some reasons such as for its 62 Cultural centers, 68 Art galleries, 64 historic mosques, 63 museums but the most interesting thing is that someone can see there a modern western city combined with a traditional eastern city.

In addition, it is said that Istanbul is a pilot European smart city because it combines technologies and strategies in order to improve the tracks of mobility, energy, smart society, environment, entrepreneurship and economic development, big Data and urban management. Some examples, firstly, comes from the track of mobility. Istanbul has an intelligent signalization system, electronic enforcement system, stops for disabled people carrying cards as well as payment points, e-payment card, smart bus stops, special info points at bus, vehicles (connected vehicles) and parking automation system with unmanned. It is well known that Istanbul has an important history and culture and this is the reason why someone can find there an Istanbul Foundation For Culture And Arts where arts act as a mediator in order to create an international platform of communication. Last but not least, the track of entrepreneurship and economic development is growing the last years because Istanbul organizes events from all over the world such as hackathonist.

Through this event someone can develop smart city applications by using CitySDK APIs on three domains: smart mobility, smart tourism and smart participation. To conclude, the track of tourism can’t be missing from Istanbul. It is widely known that more and more tourists are visiting this town every year. The number of tourists in 2014 was 11.842.983, a, without doubt, huge number.

To sum up, we think that we have a lot of reasons to believe that Istanbul is definetely a pilot European smart city.

See our presentation for Istanbul here

If you want to see how this journey ends click here