Smart City, towards a positive energy city
Smart cities are reinventing our way of living and working.
Smart cities: a revolution that is moving from dream to reality. The whole movement is based on the pursuit of people’s happiness. Smart cities encourage a shared living environment that is energy positive by improving people’s living and working conditions.
Lately, many people are talking about “smart cities”. It is a buzzword that is normally heard in marketing, business, and events on development policies. It seems like smart cities are the solution to all our problems and you know… it might even be true! However, let’s take a moment to delve into the concept, and look at it in more depth. What is a smart city, and what does the concept really mean?
What is a smart city?
A “smart city” is a new, clearly emerging concept, that could be described as an “intelligent” or “efficient” city.
It is used to define a “healthy” kind of urban development based on the ideology of sustainability; able to put the needs of people and the environment above other factors, such as human vanity, dehumanisation and property speculation.
A smart city is a city in which institutions, companies and the inhabitants themselves are aware that quality of life and happiness should come first. And this is where a logical economic plan comes into play, together with a fair management of all the operational, social and environmental aspects of the city.
In a smart city, companies and institutions play a key role, channelling investment into making life easier for inhabitants, and using information technology as the main tool for eco-efficiency.
Companies and organisations in sectors such as telecommunications, security, construction, audiovisuals, consumer electronics, electrical equipment, computer equipment, health, education, and local governments come together to manage all the aspects that make up a city and make it truly habitable:
- High-quality, care-oriented public services
- Education and training.
Houses, banks, hospitals, hotels, tax offices, post offices, government offices, schools, and more. These spaces should be integrated in the urban environment together with street lighting, traffic lights, street furniture and everything that makes up a city, but in an eco-efficient, healthy way that works in the interest of the people.
In smart cities, investments prioritise aspects such as continuous training. This training should begin with full-time education; primary, secondary and higher education, followed by continued education into adulthood.
Investments should prioritise social aspects such as energy infrastructure, communication technology and transport infrastructure. This will promote a high quality of life, alongside sustainable economic and environmental development. All of this is thanks to a participative government with a careful and thought-out management of natural resources, making good use of citizens’ time.
The Millennial culture vs an ageing population
Two parallel forces that push against each other, that have to live side by side in the midst of the social and employment reinvention that is a smart city. On the one hand, the millennial culture is emerging, and on the other hand, there is a growing ageing population.
Each of these segments demands different spaces, that go beyond simply “living” and aim to “live with a better quality of life”. They have to move from “working without meaning” to “working towards something you believe in”.
Millennials are the so-called “boomerang”, or “Peter Pan” generation, due to their tendency to put off the conventional rites of passage to adulthood. They delay the transition between childhood and adulthood in response to mistakes made by their parents.
The millennials’ goal is to avoid what happened to their parents: couples getting divorced and people feeling unsatisfied with their careers.
Those who belong to the millennial generation are critical by nature, which is shown by their preponderance in culture. They have a strategic thinking pattern, are more sociable and enjoy multi-tasking: they want to pay attention to several things at the same time, and technology allows them to achieve this.
They value their independence and freedom highly. Their ideology decrees that everyone should have their own opinion, and be heard or respected regardless of age or experience. They are committed to a flexible, creative, productive and inspiring work environment. A new way of working outside the limits of traditional methods.
The phenomenon of an ageing population
This younger generation coexists alongside the phenomenon of an ageing population. Cities are filled with elderly people who have a set of needs that the smart city has to prioritise.
An older population needs a more advanced support network to carry out all aspects of their lives.
This population has not had the opportunity to adapt to technology, and demands ample public spaces that are healthy and in more natural environments.
Architecture is another weapon that can be used to combat the stress of daily living. Taking care of factors such as ventilation, wall transpiration and the use of materials stopping CO2 from being released into the environment, can help create healthier spaces.
A change of structure is taking place, with a growing population that demands a new lifestyle. They want to make the most of life at their age, feel relaxed and be more creative.
A smart city must be an accessible community that encourages the mobility and social life of the oldest members of society, and that provides more connectivity, cultural resources and opportunities for sports and education.
The core aim should be to design a healthy public space that encourages conversation, cooperation and creativity.
Taking care of the environment is a fundamental part of the evolution of a smart city. Reducing the impact on the planet, while making us happier at the same time. But, how can this be achieved?