6 characteristics that define Smart Cities




Architects and urban planners of the world debate together with public entities and sociologists about the parameters of what is or should be a “smart city”. The indicators in this sense are so broad and dissimilar that the experts insist that, if a true agreement on its definition cannot be reached, it could tend to dehumanize even more the existing cities.

So, the correct definition seems to be the one that makes a special focus on the social aspect rather than the technological. Terms like fair and equitable city, sustainability, resilience, and quality of life coupled with the concept of technological and energetic capitalization appear in this definition. This means that the architect in these new cities not only must have a structural and spatial vision, but also have to make the skills to coordinate different disciplines and develop a global action capable of guiding the city and its economic, social, and governmental objectives.


But in short, what are the characteristics that define a “smart city”? Here we share 6.

1. Undoubtedly the incorporation of information and communication technology (ICT) into public services is the main thing. In a true smart city the use of technological platforms must be easily accessible through various devices and the connections on these must be swift, as these are part of their public services.
2. Efficient public services are the other point of honor in this new urban concept. Adequate collection of solid waste, ease of recycling, management of renewable energy, among others are the minimum services with which it must count to be cataloged as such.
3. The protection and security of its citizens is another essential aspect. In a “smart city” the networks of camcorders, highway and street lighting, intensive surveillance and patrolling, and a fast response system for emergency calls are key requirements.
4. Financial independence is another interesting feature. Smart cities have strategic planning of all their sources of income: taxes, payments, government budget, etc.
5. Smart cities have a social infrastructure suited to their requirements. This means that their schools, hospitals, recreational areas, and communication routes are sufficient and efficient. 6. Traffic planning is, almost by definition, another feature of this type of city. An efficient public transport network that reduces energy consumption and the enabling of bicycle paths are among the parameters to be met. Therefore, in smart cities the use of private transport is reduced, so the famous traffic jams (peak hours) are something of another century.

Although it may seem like a distant future, the so-called smart cities are just around the corner. In fact, in this concept’s Top 5 of are London, Tokyo, Zurich, Paris, and New York. Do you live in a city that is close to this concept or have you visited one of the aforementioned? Share your experience with us.


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