The Second Biggest Issue Cities Face Today!
The time to focus on cities is now! Smart infrastructure is the foundation for future success, better paying jobs and a new era of prosperity for everyone.
Nowhere is the need more obvious than in our urban centers where swelling populations are putting increasing pressure on aging infrastructure. Yet we cannot ignore smaller cities and surrounding towns and counties and rural communities either. So many of them face infrastructure challenges, so many face food and water insecurities, so many are hampered by inefficient processes and policies, so many need jobs that provide livable wages. Yet so many of them are budget-constrained.
What they all need is for this generation’s visionary leaders and thinkers at all levels of government to see the promise of smart infrastructure investments — and take action. No longer should the political dialog be about building more roads and bridges, more wastewater plants, more healthcare facilities. More is not the answer in 2016; we need to be smarter than that.
A few examples of smart infrastructure are: North Miami Beach, Florida was just mid-way through its deployment of smart water infrastructure equipped with leak detection technology and the utility had already identified and repaired 23 leaks, saving 27 million gallons of water and $38,000 annually. San Diego expects to save more than $250,000 annually in electricity and maintenance costs with its intelligent streetlight network that remotely accesses and controls 3,000 lights, improving public safety and reducing the city’s carbon dioxide emissions. New York City is transforming 7,500 payphones into LinkNYC, a free municipal Wi-Fi network offering up to gigabit speeds, free phone charging and free national calling — all paid for by advertising. LinkNYC helps close the digital divide, raises visibility of local businesses and upcycles existing infrastructure.
We know that simply building more inefficient infrastructure is not sustainable, nor is it a wise use of public funds. The same is true on the job front. In the 21st Century, the way to drive greater prosperity for more citizens is by innovating to include more people in our progress.
The return cities are seeing on smart infrastructure investments are a classic example of triple bottom line benefits, thanks to the impact such projects can have on people, on profits and on the planet. Or put another way, they contribute to the social, financial and environmental well-being of communities.
Social: Improving the quality of life; lowering the cost of living; conquering the digital divide; enabling upward mobility for disadvantaged populations; ensuring safer streets and neighborhoods; providing greater access to healthcare and education; creating better paying jobs in growth industries; reducing food and water insecurity
Financial: Operational efficiencies lower costs for cities, businesses and citizens; cities with a reliable electric grid and state-of-the-art telecommunications and mobility attract business and industry; lower crime rates lower the cost of doing business in a city; cities that promote smart mobility, smart payments, Wi-Fi, etc. appeal to tourists.
Environmental: Ability to monitor and control energy and water use to encourage conservation; smart devices help ensure cleaner water and air; smart mobility and energy efficient buildings reduce carbon emissions, recycling and upcycling lessen need for landfills; integration of more renewable energy into the energy mix.
In conclusion, smart infrastructure leads to a smart city.