Cities are the future. It’s estimated that by 2030, 5 billion people will live in cities compared to 3.6 billion now, an equivalent increase of over 1 million people every week. And by 2050, it’s estimated that 66% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Burgeoning populations, environmental challenges, and the political and economic forces of globalisation – all place pressure on the city not only to function, but to optimise. It is against this backdrop that the concept of the ‘Smart City’ has emerged, a quasi- utopian vision of an efficient, automated and beautifully designed metropolis, fully integrated into the natural environment and adapted with the needs of communities and civilians in mind. A crucial tenet of the Smart City is the idea that we can use technology (in particular sensors, big data, IoT and machine learning) to help cities best serve the needs of its citizens. These cities will be responsive, collecting data to inform and feed into how the city should be operating – and it’s hoped that the end result will be increased economic growth and quality of living.
But in real terms, what might such a city look like? And how can we mitigate against the potential threats that come with such interconnectedness? Here are some developments that may well become a reality within our lifetimes…Download PDF