(Not so) Breaking news: our world is constantly changing! Influenced by an iconic science-fiction imagery spread by the media, we often speculate about the future and how it will look like. Some visionary people have conceptualized and concretized our visions and made them closer to us than we could ever hoped for, for better or worse.
In this context, Smart cities have revolutionized the way we live and think, especially for some specific communities and minorities. In latest years, many projects have been developed with the aim of making our cities smarter, more sustainable, digitalized and inclusive. Digital citizenship and the Internet of Things (IoT) are just first steps of this growing process.
As we can expect, those projects have to cope with many different challenges, among which limited funding and long-lasting approval processes stand out. In addition, during the installations and improvements of infrastructures a lot of frustrating problems can trouble people living in the cities. But high costs and lasts of digital solutions are not the only challenge to face with. Security threats, hackers attacks, invasion of privacy are concrete issues that can be complicated to solve.
Despite those obstacles that have to be overcome, a new idea of smart city is now emerging, one that not only implies the improvement of existing cities, but the creation “from scratch” of new cities under the criteria of sustainability, efficiency and security. Examples of this ambitious ideas are located in different parts of our planet.
OCEANIX, Busan, Republic of Korea – Global warming and its consequences are issues of fundamental importance. The level of sea is rising till worrying conditions and it threatens coasts city in every continent. The executive director of UN-Habitat, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif asserted how “we cannot solve today’s problems with yesterday’s tools”. Adequate and updated solutions to those environmental problems are urgently needed.
Drawing from such necessity, the UN-Habitat, the Busan Metropolitan City of the Republic of Korea and Oceanix recently unveiled the prototype of the first sustainable floating city. In 2019 during the first UN Roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities, an agreement on the design and construction of such ambitious project was agreed upon and the Metropolitan City of Busan was later chosen as the hosting city for the prototype. The strategy includes: modular maritime neighborhoods powered by clean solar energy, connected with the fastest web technologies and grounded on a circular economy model allowing for autonomous food and water production. It is expected that the new district will grow to house more that 10’000 people by 2025.
THE LINE, Saudi Arabia – No auto or streets, no traffic and pollution but every needed service reachable with a 5-minute walk or an ultrafast system of clean transport. Those are the basic principles of The Line, a science-fiction city developed by Neom, the company created by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The name of this utopian idea reflects its structure, a straight-line connection of community with a length of 170 km linking the coast of the Red Sea and the mountains and upper valleys of the north-west of Saudi Arabia. Located at the crossroads of the world, this new model of city will become a strong pillar in the struggle against modern environmental issues. The first occupancy is expected to settle in 2024.
TELOSA, USA – One mission: create a more equitable and sustainable global standard for urban living. One tool: the combination of the best elements of the best cities in the world. Telosa is an American city model conceptualized by serial entrepreneur and investor Marc Lore, for the purpose of creating a more inclusive and sustainable future for its inhabitants. Telosa’s citizens will be able to access to best social services in a surround of total respect of nature and others. Behind this rational is the idea that by combining the vibrant diversity of cities like New York, the safety and efficiency of cities like Tokyo and the sustainability and the government model of cities like Stockholm, the “perfect” city can indeed emerged. The landmark will be the Equitism Tower with a photovoltaic roof, elevated water storage, aerophonic farms enabling the provision of every produced good and service to the entire urban centre. City parks will be considerable and a storage for the environment and an open space for the wellbeing of all citizens. Streets will prioritize bikes and pedestrians, with the only exception of slow-moving cars that respect walking people and nature. According to actual forecasts the project will start in 2030 in the Great American Desert.
The list of projects is long and quite diversified, thus testifying to the efforts and investments people are conceiving in order to create a smarter, more sustainable and inclusive Society for all. Unfortunately, many issues and challenges still lie ahead. As Observatory on Digital Communication, OCCAM is on the frontline to make Smart Cities a reality all across the world.