What is a smart city?

This article provides a definition of a smart city: What is a smart city? In this introduction we try to show what smart cities really are.

What is a smart city: A definition of a smart city

A smart city wants to respond to the challenges of our time, such as those regarding sustainability and quality of life. This is achieved for example by improving the efficiency of urban operations and services, as well as its competitiveness. And to ensure that the city meets the needs of present and of future generations, in terms of economic, social and environmental issues. In short, a smart city should be a good place to live, with the best possible quality of life and with the most efficient use of resources.

In a smart city, people exchange information and work together on projects. In addition, smart cities are sustainable and they are economical with energy, water, raw materials, food and financial resources. Third, smart cities should encourage their residents, businesses and city services to invent new ways of organizing, sharing, communicating and producing. Furthermore, a city is only really smart when it involves its residents and companies in its projects. Finally, a smart city works on simplifying things: Everyone would rather have simple, transparent (public) services.

What is a smart city: The goals of a smart city

The main objectives of smart cities are: 1) Improving environmental quality in the urban space. Among other things, by reducing CO2 emissions, traffic and waste. And optimizing energy consumption, by creating energy efficient buildings, home appliances and electronic devices. Completed with recycling of energy and use of renewable energy. And 2) Strengthening the quality of life. And providing better public and private services, such as public transport and health services.

What is a smart city: The six aspects of a smart city

In literature, six different aspects of smart cities are defined: (Smart) economy, people, governance, mobility, environment and living.

1) Smart business includes aspects like innovation, entrepreneurship, a flexible labor market and an international network. 2) Smart people is not just about educating people in the city, but also about social interaction, public awareness and participation in public life. 3) Smart governance includes government transparency, availability of public and social services, and citizens’ participation in decision-making. 4) Transport systems and (ICT) infrastructure are part of smart mobility, with accessibility (both physically and digitally) playing a major role. 5) Smart environment focuses on sustainable management of resources, environmental protection and pollution issues. 6) The final aspect (smart living) focuses on the lives of citizens, including culture, health, safety, housing and social cohesion.

What is a smart city: The ideal smart city

An ideal smart city is a city where you can enjoy a healthy and pleasant life, where you can have reliable transport, where work is good and where it is safe. And of course it is also a sustainable city. Where the economy is spreading new successful activities and where everyone enjoys culture. An ideal smart city, as a living organism, checks its vital functions, adjusts itself and keeps itself healthy, minimizing the disadvantages of urbanization. Away with traffic congestion, housing shortage, unhealthy concentrations of fine dust, overpopulated inner cities, crumbling social structures, and noise.

This article is part of a series.

Read more:

Part 1 – What is AI (Artificial Intelligence): An introduction

Part 2 – What is VR (Virtual Reality): An introduction

Part 3 – What is AR (Augmented Reality): An introduction

Part 5 – Machine learning, neural networks and deep learning explained

Part 6 – What is machine learning: An introduction

Part 7 – What is a neural network: An introduction

Part 8 – What is deep learning: An introduction

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