What Makes Smart City Quite Intelligent?
The notion of Smart City has sounded many years ago, even by utopia enthusiast. Including talkative trash bins, streetlights that automatically “guide you home”, hundreds of on-street parking spots across city with electric vehicle charging station, or integrated public transportation with less carbon emission. Sounds crazy for people 20 years ago, isn’t it? However, the smart city technology is becoming part of today urban landscape. Have a look at cities like Prague, Manchester, or Melbourne with their smart trash bins. Connected streetlights that automatically dim on and off have become a reality in Jakarta, Edinburgh, and Miami. People in Los Angeles, Hamburg, and Beijing are familiar with electric charging station while parked on the street.
Despite these promising advances, smart city system is still at an infant level. Billions of people living in urban areas are not having access to the facilities. The inclusiveness issue emerges for questioning how truly smart the city is. Professor Dr. Suchatvee Suwansawat, President of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology (KMITL) Thailand, said about the intelligent factor in smart city innovation. I met him (online) in the YSEALI Smart City Workshop 2021 on City for All-Social Well-Being in Smart Cities topic. On the word of Professor Suchatvee, the notion of smart city is how innovative idea makes a city better using the technology for all citizens.
In detail, there are seven pillars for making smart city quite intelligent. (1) Holistic smart city development, (2) Citizens-come-first mindset, (3) Alignment with government initiatives, (4) Long-term vision, (5) Sustainability as top priority, (6) Public-private-partnership programs, and (7) open, city-wide databases and platforms. Why people become a center of smart city universe? As simple as they have an authority and live in the system. Hence, the citizens-come-first mindset is perfectly important for broadening the inclusiveness.
For instance, in Copenhagen, developers can submit a request for testing their smart city solution to the public. Once accepted, Copenhagen street lab offers full assistance to install and connect the solution to the existing infrastructure. During the test, they also develop participatory platforms that empower citizens to submit and vote on local policy proposals. This strategy will enable cities to listen their citizens’ opinions simultaneously. Furthermore, one idea from Professor Suchatvee that really impress me is about city with no car. In my opinion, besides it will reduce the carbon emission extremely, the idea also will cut the disparity between low middle income with the rest citizenship. Of course, for pushing the citizens’ inclusiveness to make smart city quite intelligent.