A “smart city” is an excellent type of city to support innovation because it is organized around the idea to be self-sustainable with the use of information and communication technologies and multiple other innovative means to stimulate advancement and quality of life (Manville et al. 2014). A “smart city” is intended to promote the efficiency of urban operation and meet the needs of its inhabitants (ITU 2014a). The organization of this type of populated locality allows providing the necessary facilities for economic and social activity, and together with this, it supports the exalted standards of the environmental protection (ITU 2014a).
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A “smart city” is, first of all, the living area where the latest information and communication technologies have come in use (ITU 2014b). Innovation is also inevitably connected with the latest information and communication technologies. Therefore, a “smart city” is the place where the essential components of innovation implement to optimize people’s daily life. So, the citizens of “smart cities” get the necessary tools into their hands to make their labour highly more effective and their social life more fulfilling.
As a result, the new generations of intelligent and efficient people are able to progress to the horizons of the never yet seen innovation. To illustrate, the real life example from Barcelona, Spain can be considered. Being the ancient city, Barcelona has faced a number of complex developmental problems due to the poor conformability of its infrastructure to the requirements of the new era of technological progress. However, today the city has been able to achieve the unprecedented innovation success due to the total redevelopment of the city information and communication technologies.
Further, one of the major characteristics of “smart cities” is ‘smart governance (Manville et al. 2014). Smart governance is also the key variable of any innovation project because no achievement is possible without an effective manager. Therefore, the smart governance available in smart cities is the great contributor to innovation. Without the smart governance, “smart cities” will meet regulation difficulties at the very beginning of their development because their formation requires the smart horizontal actions such as standards and common measurement frameworks. Smart people, which is another characteristic of “smart cities” according to Manville et al. (2014), have their supporting role in promoting innovation together with the smart governors.
These are the people who utilize their potential including their intelligence, physical power, and creativity to keep on moving to the further levels of advancement. Manville et al. (2014) provided another significant detail in connection with the smart governance and smart people in “smart cities”, which is the private-public partnerships. The private-public partnerships are a very promising form of governance and people co-operation due to the fact that they contribute to the development of expertise, technology capabilities building, the formation of financial capital, and greater involvement of common citizens into the process of innovative change (ITU 2014a).
Next, since innovation is impossible without an effective distribution of resources, “smart cities” with their effective systems of resource management provide the ground for the innovation stimulation. According to Manville et al. (2014), “smart cities” have the necessary communications for timely delivery of the major resources needed for people’s economic and social activity including the water, energy, raw materials, transportation, and public spaces. It is impossible also to forget about the smart mobility when the theme of “smart cities” is addressed. Interestingly, innovation is also unattainable without the smart mobility since innovation occurs only under the condition of timely delivery of resources to their destinations including people, energy, water, raw materials, public facilities, and many more.
When addressing the theme of innovation, it is no way one can forget about the economy because it is an essential component for any type of progress. Without smart economy people will simply have no resources to allocate for their innovative projects. Thus, smart economy as the key component of “smart cities” sustainability is also the factor contributing to innovation. “Smart cities” economy incorporates such significant factors for the innovation success as productivity, employment, gross domestic product, market dominance, viability, investment, value chain, and compensation (ITU 2014b). Besides, smart economy incorporates “local and global interconnectedness and international embeddedness with physical and virtual flows of goods, services and knowledge” (Manville et al. 2014, p. 28). This aspect of smart economy also has the key significance for the innovation advancement.
Thinking about innovation, some representatives of the wide public may leave smart environment behind. However, it is the mistake because the unwise environmental policy leads to the climate and living conditions catastrophe. As a result, the population suffers. First of all, people begin to experience the physical and mental health problems. With such state of health, people can no longer be effective, and thus, one of the key variables of innovation becomes inactive.
The result is not difficult to predict, it is the innovative slow-down or complete innovation arrest, and the most complicated state of such a process can be the innovation regress. From the real life examples that the wide public can observe in some of the Chinese cities, it is clear that the smart environment cannot be avoided when developing “smart cities”. Otherwise, the project can attain nothing else than an innovative regress. Smart environment also includes provisions for the demographic positive change and improvement; food security; sustainable agriculture, climate action; and bio-based economy.
Summing up, it is important to note that innovation and “smart cities” appear to come hand in hand with each other due to the fact that they are inevitably connected through the complex networks of contributing factors including smart governance, smart people, smart economy, smart mobility, and smart environment to name just a few. Innovation is impossible without people who will provide their intelligence, physical power, and creativity resources for its facilitation and thus, these people also need the conditions for the optimization of their inner resources, their timely delivery, and development and sustainability. The overall goal of “smart cities” is to provide smart people with the best conditions for the non-stop innovative advancement.
Key Learning Points
My best example of a “smart city” in the word in 2016 is:
The city of Vienna, Austria
- In 2016, Vienna has become the top-performer “smart city” in all major categories that characterize this type of city. By winning leadership from the point of view of a combination of factors, Vienna is considerably ahead of its closest competitors including Toronto, Paris, and New York. The three cities perform outstandingly in their strong areas but none of them is capable to even come close to the performance indicators demonstrated by Vienna. Below are some of Vienna’s best “smart” indicators:
- Vienna has performed as the number 1 city with the highest quality of life.
- Vienna has performed as the number 4 regional green city.
- Vienna has performed as the number 5 innovation city.
- Vienna has performed as the number 8 digital governance city.
- Vienna governors continue to put into practice their “smart city” initiatives with an objective to make it the number 1 European “smart city with the environmental protection, mobility efficiency, and land-use planning characteristics.
- Vienna authorities have already accomplished an unexampled progress at the world’s arena in the field of carbon reduction and transportation concepts optimization.
- Vienna has become the best walkable city in the world with the absolute availability of its major facilities and institutions for both pedestrians and bike riders.
My 10 innovative ideas that are specific to a “smart city” environment are as follows:
|Nb||“Smart” Idea||Description in couple of sentences|
|1||The low-carbon economy||The “smart city” economy should rely only on the environmentally-friendly sources of energy to promote the high-quality living conditions for the citizens. The era of carbon-based sources of energy has laid to the considerable environmental crisis in the world including the global warming. The low-carbon initiative aims at improving the state of affairs.|
|2||Eco-burb dwellings||The “smart city” can facilitate the energy supply practices by providing the homes with the smart-grid of energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, and storage batteries. These helpful technologies will help in achieving another important initiative described above that is the low-carbon economy. They are not only effective in people’s houses, but for the industrial use also.|
|3||Smart buildings||The “smart city” infrastructure should incorporate only the smart buildings best fitting its efficiency concepts. The smart buildings are the buildings with the energy-efficiency technologies, outstanding communications characteristics, and the compact organization for the smart use of space and volume.|
|4||Climate change adaptation||The “smart city” organization should mind the enhancements necessary in connection with the global climate changes. In so many areas around the globe, the weather became warmer, as well the climate has shifted to cause the extreme weather phenomena. The organization of “smart cities” requires taking these factors into consideration.|
|5||Disease control and prevention||The “smart city” governors need to pay their constant attention to ensuring the good health in the population.|
|6||Digital governance||The “smart city” population should have a digital access to all the necessary government services and arrangements.|
|7||Quality of life||The “smart city” organization should be focused on people’s lives improvement.|
|8||Smart education||The “smart city” educational system should provide its citizens with the high-quality education to help them meet the demands of time.|
|9||Cyber-security and resilience||The “smart city” governors should ensure high standards of information safety and security to prevent the economic crimes and other illegal and dangerous practices with the use of digital data.|
|10||Smart water management||The “smart city” resource management should pay attention to water saving and providing the population with the high-quality water for the household purposes. The same objective is important in the industry because the safe and clean water is the key resource in many industries including the pharmacology, food industry, and cosmetics, to name a just a few.|
ITU 2014a, An overview of smart sustainable cities and the role of information and communication technologies. ITU-T Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities, Web.
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Manville, C, Cochrane, G, Cave, J, Millard, J, Pederson, J, Thaarup, R… & Kotterink, B 2014, Mapping smart cities in the EU, Web.