Eight places that are getting smart

The smart city revolution is gathering pace as urban areas in every corner of the globe discover the benefits of connected technology

Google's self-driving car

1. San Jose, California, US
Intel has collaborated with San Jose, California’s third largest city, to allow the monitoring of live statistics on transportation, air quality and energy usage, among other things. Sensors around the city will gather data that will inform San Jose’s Green Vision program, a 15-year plan aiming for economic growth, environmental sustainability and a better quality of life for its residents. The initiative has created more than 25,000 local jobs in clean technology, according to Intel.

2. Santander, Spain
In one of the largest smart city experiments in the world, a project team from the EU and Telefónica installed more than 15,000 sensors in Santander, northern Spain. Installed in four phases between September 2010 and October 2013, the sensors collect data to help with traffic management, street lighting, waste disposal management, pollution monitoring, and parks and garden management. Santander is now an EU model for how smart technology can benefit cities.

3. Portland, Oregon, US
Americans have a positive outlook when it comes to the growth of smart cities, according to a recent survey. Intel’s “Freeway to the Future” study found that a third of Americans expect to see a driverless city in the next 10 years, while 44% approved of the idea. Intel is involved in smart urban projects throughout the US. In Portland, Oregon, Intel is working with the local community to get air-quality data that will communicate pollution risks in real time.

4. Cape Town, South Africa
Because of urbanization rates, by 2050 1.2 billion Africans will live in informal settlements, up from 373 million currently. With that in mind, the iShack project has gathered momentum in South Africa and is being piloted in areas such as the Stellenbosch Innovation District outside Cape Town. iShack allows enterprising residents in informal settlements to provide off-grid energy services to other residents in the community.

5. Sestroretsk, Russia
Sestroretsk, a city on the Gulf of Finland, could become one of the country’s first smart cities. A joint venture between Russia and Japan will see more than 500 hectares of housing, municipal buildings and leisure facilities built, with a smart transportation and energy infrastructure underpinning it all. 

6. Dubai, UAE
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched a strategy in March 2014 to transform Dubai into a smart city, promising that 1,000 government jobs would go smart in the next three years. The emirate’s Vice President and Prime Minister said that Dubai would develop features such as smart metering for electricity and water, a data-rich transit system and even a smart beach, which would provide sunbathers with information on sea temperatures.

7. Yokohama, Japan
The Yokohama Smart City Project is one of the largest smart city pilots in Japan, covering more than 420,000 people in 170,000 households. As part of the project, home energy management systems have been installed in 4,000 residences, with the target of achieving a 20% carbon emissions reduction through visualizing consumption and responding to demand.

8. China – everywhere
The accumulated investment, mainly from the state, behind China’s efforts to promote smart cities will exceed US$322 billion by 2025. An industry report from IBM and research firm IDC also found that smart city-related projects will add 4 million jobs across the country in that time. About 300 million Chinese will move from rural areas to cities over the next 10 years, causing the number of Chinese people living in urban areas to rise to 1 billion by 2025.

First published on July 03, 2014
Last edited on August 05, 2014
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