Concepts of a Smart City
The smart city concept is accepted and enhanced to make the quality of life better in many countries and cities. However, the definition is not available, and it is hard to define because it is based on city-specific issues and smart solutions. This paper tries to provide attributes of the smart city and its types namely hard and soft attributes. Secondly, it describes the connections between technology and smart city using some case studies such as Singapore and Seoul. Furthermore, this article explains the challenges and opportunities involved in implementing and practising the smart sustainable cities concept. Overall, this article provides future research gaps and identifies the place where the investigation needs to undertake for better future.
Keywords: Smart city, Soft attributes, Hard attributes, Information communication technology (ICT) and urban areas.
The term Smart City (SC) widely agreed as the Pervasive use of information and communication technologies to help the citizens and make the city better (Neirotti et al. 2014). The smart city concept is to improve the quality of life of the citizens and make the environment a better place to live in. There are main attributes included in smart city concept such as environment, energy, transport, economy, mobility and government (Current trends in Smart City initiatives: Some stylised facts) (Neirotti et al. 2014). By considering different patterns of smart city initiatives around the world can generate a better future in relation to smart city trends.
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ICT (information communication technology) system in the city act as a digital nervous system, which provides data related to sewers, parking spaces, security, traffic lights and so on. As a result, the real-time information is processed and transformed to the particular department to solve the problem. ICT is used to solve the problems in urban areas and make life easy. ICT is used based on political choices, the urban ecosystem of the citizens, local authorities depending on the city-specific needs (Bresnahan and Traitenberg. 1995). In cities, ICT is likely to contribute substantially to solve the emerging problems of urban living. smart initiatives do not only entail technology changes, but also investments in human capital and changes in urban living practices and conditions. In other words, ICT is a General-Purpose Technology (Bresnahan and Traitenberg. 1995).
Attributes of the smart city:
As per Neirotti et al, (2014) the attributes are divided into two types soft and hard based on ICT system, where hard attributes are used for office, residential, transport, environment and recreational use and the soft attributes are used for education and communication purposes.
Energy grids used to deliver information about energy consumption between the providers and the consumers to maintain the cost at a reliable level and make the calculation transparent (Steria-smart city. 2011). Smart grids are the electric networks, which provide sustainable, secure and economic electricity supply to the users. The smart grids are resilient and heal by its own during any negative impacts (Neirotti et al. 2014).
The waste generated from the citizens, which include people, business, industries and other city services can be managed effectively through innovative technologies. The system goes through the waste collection, disposal, recycling and reuse (The Climate Group et al. 2011).
To manage the environmental resources and infrastructure, technology is used. It helps to control pollution and increases the sustainability (Caragliu et al. 2009). Analysing the quality and quantity of water based on the hydrological cycle phases, which is needed for the citizens especially for agricultural, municipal, and industrial purposes. By using wireless sensor networks during crop cultivation stage helps to manage the plant growth. Plant diseases are reduced by combining temperature, humidity and light sensors. To reduce the pollution different types of pollution control devices are introduced to improve the air, water and environment quality (Neirotti et al. 2014).
Transport, mobility and logistics:
By providing accurate information about the multi-model traffic and transportation results in optimising private transportation and logistics use in urban areas. By developing sustainable public transportation facilities in urban areas will encourage environmental fuel friendly concept (La Greca et al. 2011). Info-mobility will distribute the multi-model information about pre-trip and on-trip information to improve the efficiency in traffic and transportation services and assure better travel experience (Neirotti et al. 2014).
Office and residential buildings:
Developing sustainable building technologies, which provides living and working in day-to-day life with reduced utilization of the resources. Retrofitting energy and water-related structures to use the resources effectively in the residential buildings and offices (Washburn et al. 2010). All facilities such as cleaning, maintenance, leasing, technology and operation modes should incorporate in the buildings to make the life of the citizens easy and high quality, which includes electricity networks, telecommunications, water supply systems, fire safety (Neirotti et al. 2014).
To reduce the diseases and deliver quick healthcare services to the public, ICT and remote sensing technology are used. The facilities should provide to all the citizens to achieve an efficient health care system, which is characterised by facilities and services (Dirks et al. 2009).
By using ICT and capturing real-time information and sharing to citizens, fire and police department to protect the citizens who are in danger (Nam and Pardo. 2011).
Education and culture:
Creating new ICT technology and introducing a new way of teaching techniques creates new opportunities for both students and teachers. ICT tools will promote culture and encourage people participation without damaging the ethics of the nation (Neirotti et al. 2014).
Social inclusion and welfare:
Improving the quality of life by introducing tools to minimize the barriers in the social learning system and participation especially elderly and disabled people (Neirotti et al. 2014).
Public administration and e-government:
ICT based Digital public administration, e-ballots and other tools to promote transparency in government activities. As a result, the citizens will empower and involve in public management (Neirotti et al. 2014). ICT tools should offer fast and new services to the public. Every citizen will have a chance to take the decision on the municipal development by accessing the government websites anytime.
Introducing innovative entrepreneurship and building integrated national and global markets related to city (Neirotti et al. 2014). To maintain the historical building, management information systems need to introduce. To improve human capital investments and to encourage new talents, modern ICT tools in public school need to establish, which include e-learning systems and interactive whiteboards.
Technology and the smart city:
For better living and to build stronger community Singapore developed the smart national program in 2014 to achieve the vision worlds first smart nation. By using technology, the Singapore nation solving a range of urban challenges, where the challenges related to ageing population, density and energy and to encourage optimal use of resources by providing the data related to the usage of different services by the citizens.
Transport and mobility stand for traffic congestions, accidents and pollution, which are mostly happening in urban metropolitan cities. This can be reduced by implementing multi-model information to the users. Encouraging public transport to ensure environmentally friendly fuels. Singapore comes up with an innovative idea to encourage public transport i.e., during peak hours there is no charge for the passengers (Keon Lee et al. 2006). The traffic information which is collected by the surveillance cameras can be accessed by the citizens. As a result, the private/public vehicle drivers can access the roadways every five minutes through snapshots. The government have implemented a portal where the information related to roadworks, traffic images on expressways, travel time, car parking facilities are updated and visible to the citizens (figure:1) (Keon Lee et al. 2006).
Figure 1: One motoring traffic cameras
Source: Keon Lee et al. 2006
Public transport users “MyTransport .SG smartphone application” is introduced, where it provides the real-time location of public transport with an information about the number of seats available in the bus. Overall, this app is developed to enhance and provide convenient urban mobility to the commuters (figure:2) (Keon Lee et al. 2006).
Figure 2: My Transport Available application
Source: Keon Lee et al. 2006.
Safety and security:
As per economist intelligence unit,2006 Singapore is considered as the second safest city in the world. The web-based electronic police centre is introduced to the Singapore citizens, where they can claim any complaint from anywhere through online. This website has a feature where the citizens can make urgent reports and less urgent reports (Keon Lee et al. 2006).
The emergence of medical services will reach to the required people by dialling 995. Also, the Singapore government introduce myResponders application in 2015 to alert nearby users to respond to the situation before the ambulance arrives (Keon Lee et al. 2006).
To reduce the water shortage the government involves citizens by encouraging water use efficiency concept through sending water efficiency messages to the citizens and provide mobile applications to look at the outstanding bills, the status of the payment and helping to manage the utilisation of the water and power (Keon Lee et al. 2006).
Smart waste bins are introduced in 2015, where the bin lids will collect the information and transfer the information to the garbage team to collect the waste. This practice will reduce the garbage team members work and keep the environment clean (Keon Lee et al. 2006).
In every household smart sensor are implemented where the lights in houses and offices will automatically turn off and on. To manage the power smart meters are installed in every building irrespective of building use. The smart meter is a two-way channel which provides the information to both consumers and the operators (Keon Lee et al. 2006).
Citizen and government interaction:
The Singapore government made their service transparent by developing websites that are citizen central and most of the information is provided to citizens through social media and it is called as e-government (Keon Lee et al. 2006).
Smart Seoul city come up with three pillars approach which includes “ICT infrastructure, Integrated city management framework and smart users” (Seoul Metropolitan Government -SMG. 2013). Seoul has smart Seoul infrastructure facilities in which smart applications are introduced to make the citizens’ life easy and to run the city smoothly (SMG. 2013)
Smart Devices for all:
High-speed wire and wireless networks are implemented in the area to increase the use of smart devices and to educate the users on the applications. This approach aim is the government should hear from all citizens. Free wi-fi facilities are provided in public spaces (SMG. 2013).
To maximise the use of smart devices the Seoul government come up with second-hand smart devices distribution for low- and middle-income families. And encouraging the high-income people to distribute the second-hand devices by providing discounts and deducting the tax on purchasing new devices (SMG. 2013).
Smart capability for all:
Through this concept the government is providing education courses on smart ICTs by providing lectures on one on one with the help of private education institutions. The target group for this approach is immigrants, elderly people, low-income groups, who are using the applications for the first time (SMG. 2013).
U-Seoul is a demonstrative optical network introduced in 2003 to connect the public buildings such as offices and municipalities. The main idea to design u-Seoul application is to exchange the data between public offices. As such citizens cannot access to this application. This application cannot handle massive volumes of data. This application is divided into three communications which include “sub-networks: to serve administrative functions, CCTV network: for video data exchange and u-service network: provides free wi-fi to the citizens and public can access government websites anywhere, anytime (SMG. 2013).
Smart work centre:
The smart work centre allows the government employees to work in ten different offices nearer to their homes (SMG. 2013).
The citizens by using community mapping application can raise the issues related to any neighbourhood and community. This system includes geographical information system and it is visible to every citizen. People can raise issues related to road repair request and the areas which are not accessible for disable people (SMG. 2013).
Smart metering project:
To minimize the use of water, energy and gas consumption smart meters are installed in homes, offices and factories, which provides real-time reports. The meter gives detail information on energy consumption patterns and help the users to reduce the patterns to reduce the use and cost (SMG. 2013).
u-Seoul safety services:
The CCTV technologies are provided in required locations to inform the government authorities and family members on emergency situations such as children, disable and elderly people suffering from any health issues. The Seoul government developed a smart device when the holder leaves a safe zone or press the emergency button the alter signals sent to the family members, police and other related control centres to inform and minimize the impacts (SMG. 2013).
U-children safety system is specially designed for the children, where a multi-input and output network is installed in the city and known as children safety zones. This wireless network helps to locate the missing children with quick response (Figure:3) (SMG. 2013).
Figure 3: U-Children safety system
Source: Seoul Metropolitan government, 2013
Opportunities and challenges:
New concepts like smart city, a resilient city is developed to make the future city low carbon, properly maintained, community-oriented and more liveable. Experiment entails both “the possibilities of present and the potential of the future” (A S Edwards, G. and Bulkeley, H. 2018). The present solutions relate to future solutions, which is a bit uncertain because the outcomes are unknown and parameters are sometimes against and are judged open to contestation. For example, cycling is encouraged in Singapore for short distance trips using a recharge card and was installed near bus and train stations. This proposal is greatly accepted by the local people and it made the citizens’ life easy and created pollution less city and provided efficient last mile connections. The Commuter cycling policy was accepted by the citizens (Kumar, A et al. 2014). The City of Sydney Cycle Strategy and Action Plan 2007-2017 is not recognised by the people, as a result, the people are not using government cycle, very few are using private cycles when compared to Singapore (City of Sydney Council. 2007). The future is uncertain and indeterminate, which not only calculate possible future but also demonstrate what to recognize such as ethical, economic and practical practice. However, when it comes to individual development and individual thinking “it is all about money” (A S Edwards, G. and Bulkeley, H. 2018). To development anything money plays a major role. Most of the projects are not approved/implemented due to the budget issue, especially in developed and underdeveloped countries.
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The smart city strategy can affect and influence by the urban variables. Smart city means it should provide facilities for all types and ages of people. Most of the implementations are not related to disabled people like deaf, dumb and vision issues. The cities which are equipped with ICT system is considered as the better city? The smart initiatives should reflect the implemented efforts to improve the life of the citizens (Neirotti et al. 2014).
The article considered the sustainable potential technology implications and other smart city practices. To the extent, smart city attributes have been classified based on purpose and use of the application in people’s individual life (i.e., energy grid, transport, buildings, economy, government).
The results of the literature study revealed that there is no unique global definition for the smart city. The ‘smart city development’ meaning differs based on the current trends, evolution patterns and local context (Neirotti et al. 2014). Different cities come up with different solutions based on the issues that citizens facing. The are few gaps which need to address i.e., to make better investments policymakers need to shape appropriate strategies related to smart city’s (Neirotti et al. 2014). Not only creating the framework but also need to be very careful while selecting the investment opportunities. Because financial resources are very limited and there is a need to prioritize the attributes to initiate the smart city and should maximize the benefits associated with specific characteristics of the smart city.
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