Technology has always been a critical force deeply intertwined with the evolution of cities. From the first human settlements millennia ago to the industrial revolution to today, technological breakthroughs have impacted the buildings we use, the way we get around and how we live, work and play in the urban space.
The development of smart cities builds upon this strong historical foundation with a digital foundation that allows cities to function more efficiently, be more responsive to community members and ultimately create better, more equitable urban environments where people thrive.
Cities are beginning to, and will continue to, integrate technological dynamism into municipal operations, from transportation to infrastructure repair and more. The back ends of these systems are not always apparent to the end user — but, as the integration of smart-city technology becomes more visible in our everyday lives, we will continue to see positive changes in our cities.
We have just released our report, “Trends in Smart City Development,” which analyzes smart-city growth and presents best practices. This report is meant to spark conversation and action among city leaders about how to incorporate smart-city strategies in every community. Examples abound of cities leading in this space both nationally and globally, examining how they can use technology as a tool to promote equity and uplift those that need help the most.
In San Francisco, city leaders are continually working to employ smart-city initiatives that make San Francisco safer, fairer and more sustainable. The city’s OpenData initiative supports smart-city projects that aim to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals and improve public transportation service. This initiative helps propel forward the city’s environmental justice goals and programs, which aim to ensure that every part of the city is a “healthy and sustainable place to live and work.”
Across the globe, we see New Delhi equally interested in equity. In conjunction with the New Delhi Municipal Council’s smart-city programs, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has introduced a land-pooling policy to address one of Delhi’s primary challenges: affordable housing that can accommodate its growing population, while laying the infrastructure to implement information and communication technologies (ICTs). Besides regulating the land-pooling policy, DDA is also committed to accountability and transparency by allowing the population to monitor its infrastructure projects online.