Smart Cityes, Smart Lives

Future

Navigating a large city and knowing the best places used to be an art reserved for the most dedicated people. However, with the rise of new technologies and inspiring ideas and concepts that support a more accessible lifestyle, our everyday living changed in such way that we became dependent of gadgets, software’s, and machines that minimise our effort. In this context, the ‘smart cities’ are the result of the ever more pressing need to guide life towards sustainability and efficiency. The UN estimates that by the middle of the century there will be 9 billion people in the world, 28% more than in 2011 and, in addition, a large majority will live in the city , where jobs, wealth and ideas are created. Therefore, the growing demand for speed and efficiency in services makes it essential to integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). In order to asses the implications of living in a smart city, this post will analyse some of the main projects that have already been implemented around the world. Moreover, it is important to stress that each city needs a unique strategy tailroed to its needs which comes from real necesities of the collective society. In the end it will examine the possiible negative outcomes of a smart city.

Past

If the 19th century was the era of the industrial revolution, the 21st century is about the information revolution (Townsend, 2013). Providing a high quality of life to citizens is one of the aims of a smart city. We could argue that city quality and life qulity in the city are linked and mayors accross the wrold are colaborating with important names in the techonology industry such as IBM, Cisco and Siemens to provide a successful outcome (Townsend, 2013). Therefore it is important to stress that the smartness of a city is compsed by several dimendions as (Giffinger, 2007) underlines: smart mobility, smart environment, smart people, smart living, smart governance and smart economy. In order to reduce the socials and environmental costs imbedded in our transportation systems, a number of smart city projects have been developed.

What will be ?

Taking into consideration the main aspects of a smart city: effectiveness, environment consideration and innovation we will anayse some successful examples of smart cities and its projects. HubCab in New York City in an interactive visualization that allows people to navigate places where taxi trips start and end, follow the same travel patterns in order to promote a collective mobility. Sharing taxi trips benefits come with reduction in service cost, emissions than cause substantial adverse effects on human health. Another example can be found in London: Santander Cycles promotes London’s public bike sharing with more than 740 docking stations and 11,000 bikes in circulation across the capital. Not only does this encourage a healthy lifestyle but it also has positive aspects on the environment. Moreover, payments are made directly from the smartphones, live docking station and availability can be consulted via Santander Cycles app on iPhone or Android. In addition, Barcelona is the first city in the world to receive the “Biosphere World Class Destination” certification, recognising the city as a sustainable destination, committed to economic, social and environmental values. Pioneer in leading innovative and sustainable initiatives, Barcelona embraces a better quality of life. An important project is the heating and cooling system “Districlima” (Districlima, 2014) with implications such as: minimising fossil origin primary energy consumption, reduction of contracted electrical power, reduction of refrigerant losses into the atmosphere, reduction in maintenance costs.

Named European Capital of Innovation in 2014 (Ross, 2015) Barcelona opts for a clean and efficient waste collection through it’s Automated Waste Collection System. Therefore, we use technology to do more with less. Another example is Citymapper, a real-time application used to monitor the public transportation system in many European cities. It sets up-to-date transportation information, give live directions, departure times and any disruptions that may be occurring , giving exact information to minimise time and effort.

All the smart city projects implemented till now are pioneer implementations, “aiming at testing new solutions to find best practices (Dameri, 2014). However, an expert in Human Computer Interaction affirms that we “need to reconsider what a data-driven city might mean, and how to better collect and represent data that’s meaningful to individuals and communities” (McMullan, 2015). Part of the smart cities is to shape and redefine the future, but there comes a point when people are not always aware about the impact of smart projects (A. V. Anttiroiko, 2013) and this only slows the process of innovations. Popular participation it is essential for a successful implementation of new ideas. As with every innovative idea, there could be negative outcomes as well. The only question is if these smart cities fail, how much damage would they cause. There are already some debates concerning the Self-driving cars which, before they can become widespread, an impossible ethical dilemma of algorithmic morality must be analysed: how should the car be programmed to act in the event of an unavoidable accident? On one hand, it could minimize the loss of life, even if it means sacrificing the occupants. On the other hand, it could protect the occupants at all costs. Either way there would be a catastrophe. Moreover, another question is weather this digital world could replace easily humans who run public services (Jefferies, 2016). Transport for London (TfL) unveiled 250 “driverless” tube trains which should come into service from 2022 (Jefferies, 2016). Security and safety are among the biggest concerns of these projects.

Conclustion: Will smart cities with robotic process automation become an unseen watcher who keeps order more effectively than the human presence?

Reflections

At the start of this course my knowledge about digital society was constructed around social media such as: Facebook, Twitter. But now I realise that was just a small part of the entire entity but now I can go understand more and more how our society tried to get so close to a “Smart City”.

One challenge that I need to rise was the first course assessment where I need to write a blog story, this was the first time in my life when I was actually producing something that people can see on the internet. This was a really big challenge for me because I didn’t know how to write a blog stile presentation, I had to research more and understand how some references should be put in there exact place.

The hardest challenge for me in this unit course was to step into the light and learn how to speak in public and discover myself. This was my main focuse when we had the second assessment with the Pecha Kucka type of presentations. Even if I thought at that moment that will never help me, one month after I had and interview with some employers and as a challenge they made me do a presentation about a topic that I like in less than 15 min that was the moment when I remembered what I learned in this course. This type of presentation really made my future employers where so amazed about what I could achieved in that 15 minutes.

I believe that all the classes had a certain need in order for me to expand my horizons to the moment when I could say that I can make a difference in what all of us name intellectual propriety and what is the value of all of this.

If I was to change something about the way that I participate at this course, I would be probably try to be more because I could have started to learn more and more useful thinks for my entire life. Across this unit, I faced a series of challenges to reflect and understand how our world is changing and I had to try to understand where our world is going to be in the next 100 years and how the digital society will influence our life even more that is now, probably with driverless cars or trains or who knows maybe playnes. A world with infinite possibilities of changes, understanding or developing.Overall, this unit was preatty challenging and was a really fun and constuctive unit to attend hope that I will find such units also in the future for my continuous develop.

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