With dozens of cities in China urbanizing all at the same time, and at a pace matched at no time by anyone else, making sure cities are planned and built properly is a must.
While the term “urban” can mean different things to different people, municipalities of all sizes are and always have been dynamic centers of activity. Cities offer jobs and prosperity, important social interaction, and rich opportunities for cultural expression, learning, and education. Change is seldom more apparent than in this ever-evolving urban context. But in an age of pervasive global warming, population growth, and increasing resource constraints, cities must innovate more proactively than ever before.
Not only must energy production shift to low-carbon alternatives, we must also mitigate systemic inefficiencies in the current urban infrastructure. Urban design and communications technology can help us achieve these efficiency gains and reduce our environmental footprint.
Cities are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. By measuring and tracking our energy consumption, we can inform and influence consumer behavior. Next-generation information technology can help us better manage vital water resources by identifying losses and improving the quality of supply. Embedded networks of tacks and sensors can ensure that waste flows are optimized and that material cycles are closed where possible.
Real-time data anal can enhance the effectiveness of our public transport systems, improve traffic flow, and reduce pollution. Smart buildings save energy by self-regulating indoor temperature and light. They can increase productivity, making better use of space by being responsive to the needs of each occupant.
A connected, information-rich, urban environment can benefit government and businesses. And it can benefit the city’s primary stakeholder: the citizen.