What makes a smart city smart

After making mostly critical comments on the reports published by consulting companies, I have also to point out truly good articles. One of those is certainly the recent McKinsey article on Smart Cities in South East Asia.

What we generally understand nowadays as a smart city is a connected city, where monitoring allows dynamic adapting to any given situation. This means that integrating systems, for instance a control system for all means for transport, are critical infrastructures for the future. What is also clear is that cities consume vast amount of resources from the Hinterland and that their impact needs to be well managed on a regional level. Finally, and that is possibly the biggest shortcoming of the study, cities are living organisms – they do never behave as planned, thus sufficient space for adaptation needs to be available.

The study then further goes into the value of data to understand and plan, but also to act and share with partners. This approach, to build on partnerships across industries and organizations, is a crucial aspect when we seek to build urban areas we want to live in and that have a limited ecological impact. Smart cities approaches can help us especially in the area of transport, handling utilities, heating and HVAC topics but also healthcare.

The last topic, healthcare, is for me a bit controversial. On the one hand, data can improve understanding and support optimal diagnosis and treatment. On the other hand, more data leads to more unnecessary treatments with more sideeffects.

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