5 City Initiatives that Make Smart Living Possible

5 City Initiatives that Make Smart Living Possible

By Michael Kordvani

The stats about smart living are exciting, telling us that 477 million smart home devices will be shipped on a global level in 2020. The growing trend toward interconnectedness has a genuine impact not only on how we live but also on how we work. We share almost as much, occasionally even more at work than we share in housing communities, trying to find the right balance between individuality and collectivism. Although the stats about coworking spaces may not be so intriguing as those about smart homes, they are on the way up. The trends for 2017 say that over one million people have worked in a shared space at least once.

Smart living and coworking is a challenging concept for cities as they face a struggle to make it all work in densely populated spaces. On the other hand, some see coworking as a 2-in-1 economy measure helping the productive generation navigate through expensive rents, high mortgage rates, and burdensome student debts. Despite the challenges, many cities are doing great when putting initiatives for social sharing into action. As it turns out, the city size is not a prerequisite, as shared living and coworking is finding its way in smaller towns, as well as in huge urban hubs. There are countless ways to make good use of big data, as we will see from these successful around-the-world initiatives.  

1. Bellevue, Washington State

Bellevue is a proof that a city doesn’t have to get huge to get smart.The mid-sized city from the US far northeast has a population of just above 140,000 and is known as the high-tech edge city of the greater Seattle area, providing more than 150,000 jobs. Obviously, Bellevue is a city that people want to be in. Its smart city vision was therefore aptly named in the City Council’s Bellevue 2035 as “The City Where You Want to Be”, and includes six principle pillars: Connectivity, Transportation, Public Safety, Water, Building and Energy. While it’s easier to build on a lovely environment and reliable transportation infrastructure, the already existing high-tech connectivity needs to be upgraded with emerging technologies, seamlessly integrated into the city needs. Having in mind that the number of jobs in Bellevue is still bigger than the number of inhabitants, sharing a desk at a coworking space is definitely a tool that can help the smart city flourish.   

2. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Dutch capital is famous for its innovative eco-sustainability, and for leading the way to circular economy. It is the first in the world to start such a large-scale circular economy project with practical reflection to smart living. The City of Amsterdam is testing the concept in practice by adopting a few innovation processes, trying to answer what it means to make maximum use of resources while transitioning from linear to circular economy. Recycling, material saving, and job creation are just a few of the highlights included in the pilot projects for turning Amsterdam into a Circular City.

3. NYC, New York  

Located in the center of the world, New York City is beaming with opportunity, yet still struggles with its fair share of social inequality. The anti-poverty initiative that uses data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to its advantage is on the city officials’ agenda for taking smart living into the future, while focusing on underdeveloped areas. As expected from a large city, New York City’s smart living initiatives are versatile, including the Wi-Fi Connect 305 project which supports the increased demand for information while being stuck in traffic and the Bus Turnaround Coalition project for predicting the performance and improvement of key bus lines. Despite the mix of difficulties, business incubators, startup accelerators, and coworking spaces in NYC rank high as one of the best in the world.    

4. Birmingham, the UK

The 49 smart living actions from Birmingham’s project called “Creating a Smart City Roadmap” are centered around three main themes – Technology and Place, People, and Economy. Sometimes, all it takes is a whiteboard explainer drawing with a scheme of wireless measuring sensors to get a picture of what it means to make a city at least somewhat smarter. Other times, it means a £26-million investment to make the city transportation better by integrating transport data from different agencies.

5. Singapore, Southeast Asia

Singapore is often among the first place contenders for being Asia’s smartest city, even with the strong competition from Japanese technopolises or from Hong Kong. Its business-friendly vibe has long attracted entrepreneurs from around the globe. Singapore may just be New York City’s Asian counterpart, taking the road to a smart city not only regionally, but also globally, further developing the supportive business environment and including wider citizen participation into government processes. As of 2014, the city’s Smart Nation program is collecting massive amount of data to help the island’s fiber network grow, increase the number of mobile devices and improve other high-focus areas, such as health, housing and transport.    

There is a pretty straightforward trend toward sharing. The fact that the number of people in shared spaces seems like a small speck in view of the overall world population is relative to people’s tendency to group around city infrastructure. People in cities like spending their working hours in a coworking space, as much as they like ripping the benefits of better transportation and of access to expansive pools of knowledge, people, environment and culture.

About the author: Ever since he was a child, Michael was captivated by technology. When the opportunity arose to spend his life writing about it, Michael didn’t hesitate. He now spends his time exploring and writing about captivating new technologies to introduce to the people. Michaels insatiable desire for new technologies lead him to pursue a computer science degree at Queens College. His work has been published on various technology blogs across the web.

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