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Enhancing the quality of life through smart city solutions

How can cities re-engineer themselves to foster stronger community ties and promote culture?

For many people, the term ‘smart city’ conjures up images of driver-less cars whizzing through streets, concierge-like services made possible by phone apps, talking fridges, or Big Data acting as Big Brother.

Such a utopian (or dystopian) vision is largely based on technology, and imagines a future where lives are enhanced because of this.

Yet the definitions of ‘smart city’ are as different as the cities themselves, and it is too often associated solely with technology.

What we uncovered in Smart Cities 2.0 is that a truly smart city will not just utilise technology, but can foster community and promote culture as well – thus enhancing the quality of people's lives.

By 2050, 75% of the global population will live in urban areas. So we will need smarter ways to build and plan our cities so that they become centres of economic growth, whilst managing waste, reducing our energy and water consumption, and mitigating the destruction of the natural environment.

The diversity of the cities covered in Smart Cities 2.0 has been an enriching experience for me as an architect and academic. It has allowed me to reinforce or debunk many of the current perceptions that surround smart cities.

Bandung, for example, does not strike many as a typical smart city, but the city leverages people-power and social media to get smarter; while Higashimatsushima’s smart city quest, born out of a cataclysmic tragedy, has allowed it to become truly self-sufficient through the embrace of renewable energy.

Solar power monitor in Higashimatsushima

Smart Cities 2.0 uncovers how each city has its own reasons for becoming smarter, and what constitutes ‘smart’ in one metropolis, may not be in another.

Thus the journey of discovery with a talented and well-meaning film crew has been as enjoyable and rewarding as my own journey of knowledge-sharing.

Smart Cities 2.0 premieres 4 March 2017 at 8.30pm.

Professor Jason Pomeroy

Host and Consultant, Smart Cities 2.0