Today we are surrounded by smart technology and it has gradually become a major part of our everyday lives, but now we are beginning to see the technology industry evolving the very cities that we live in.
Significant research is being developed to improve our city life, and digital technology, which is growing 32% faster than most other sectors*, seems to be the way forward for city planners. With this in mind, it has been announced that cities are no longer being re-built, but instead smart technology is being integrated to make our local areas better places to live, and also to help to manage a city’s assets, including water, transportation and education, making them more sustainable.
The ‘smart city’ concept may seem like something that wouldn’t be out of place in a sci-fi film, but this term is now one of the ‘most over-hyped phrases used in urban-development’ and is not as futuristic as it may sound. Many of our day-to-day objects are becoming ‘connected’, a revolution referred to as the ‘Internet of Things’, and it is suggested that by 2020, there will be 25 billion connected objects. This means that from this technology, data can be collected to learn more about our city life including air pollution, travel patterns and even how we behave.
The city of Manchester has already started to employ smart technology through its CityVerve project. This includes plans for ‘talkative bus stops’ which tell bus operators when people are waiting for the service, and also a number of sensors set up in parks and walking routes to encourage physical exercise.
A similar project by Lendlease is also coming to light in London, where the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle area of South London is becoming ‘smarter’, through the use of an app that allows residents get to know each other, helping to improve the living environment for the people in the neighbourhood.
With technology said to separate ourselves from the ‘real world’, this ‘smart city’ concept could work to bring people together, and if used on a wider scale, this opinion on technology could be changed, making our cities a much more connected and ultimately happier place to be.
For more information on the Manchester CityVerve Project visit the website here.
* The Guardian