Accelerating the cities of the future

In the lead up the Smart Cities Week the Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators are reflecting on the four themes: connected, aware, accelerate and compassion. This week’s post on the theme of ‘accelerate’ from Emerging Innovator Angela Chan looks at the three factors of workability, liveability and sustainability that will accelerate how we are shaping cities of the future.

The world is changing at an exponential rate. By 2050, the world's cities will be home to an additional 2.5 billion people causing stress on infrastructure and energy demand. Industries will consume more than 30% of the world's energy and 4 billion people will be connected to 50 billion devices by 2020. What will this mean for Australians and how can cities thrive with this change to create a sustainable city?

As change makers we need to be supporting one another in this time of exponential growth. Therefore it is important to recognise three factors that will accelerate how we are shaping the cities of the future.

1.       Workability: We need to be attracting multi skilled talent for our work environments to create an engaged community

The demographic shifts in Australia reveal the rise of the aging population. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report that by 2037, 20% of Australia's population will 65 years and older. As the number of young adults decline, there is competition for talent. City leaders are looking globally to attract a multi skilled economy. With flexible work spaces, work hours and connectivity, an ideal city will have an appreciation for diversity, bringing different cultures, community groups and activities to the mix. This creates a strong culture and a highly engaged community.

2.       Liveability: We need strong leadership when designing for citizens

City leaders have the responsibility of providing basic services such as utilities, health and wellbeing, public spaces and plays, education, finance, engagement, buildings, connectivity and mobility. In order to create smarter cities, we need to be educating ourselves on emerging technology and using these enablers to develop intelligence. What if there was no physical or virtual crime? What if there was protection against natural disasters? What if there was preventative care? The use of sensors, machine learning, artificial intelligence means we can now predict disasters before they occur.

3.       Sustainability: We need to create an environmental and sustainable environment

From zero waste to pollution-free air, digital solutions will enable cities to become a circular economy. A circular economy aims to eradicate waste throughout the life cycles and uses of products and their components thus reducing the use of material, energy and labour inputs. Pin pointing where waste occurs will create valuable insights to invest in sustainable long term solutions. This business model creates opportunities for energy savings and increased resource productivity.

The three elements of workability, liveability and sustainability create a smart city. With sustainability as the ultimate outcome, a smart city is the accelerator to achieving this goal.

 

Angela Bee Chan is the Innovation Lead at Schneider Electric, Founder and CEO of Hackathons Australia and is one of the Founding Members of Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators. She is passionate about activating innovation in communities and helping cities become smarter.