From politicians to scientists and ecologists associations, all areas of the developed world, are targeting these modern cities; Cities that use clean energy and make intelligent use of their economic sources.
However, although we all have a rough idea of what a Smart City is, there is much more that escapes from our superficial knowledge. It is important to understand why is it good for a country to have Smart Cities, what they really are and what are the efforts that are currently being made in our region to create Latin American Smart Cities.
What are Smart Cities?
Smart cities are those that are constantly developing their potential in technology and innovation. To achieve this, they need to apply and work with every one of their resources, obtaining all their benefits from them.
A smart city requires support from all of its components: population, agents, companies, among others. This means that the development of a Smart City is based on much more than technology and industry, it is the result of social cooperation.
On the other hand, if we focus on a technological point of view, a “smart city” will become a sustainable ecosystem of great complexity (that at the same time, contains many more complex subsystems). This can be summarized in a global ecosystem where multiple processes co-exist and due to its closeness they have to be taken into account as a whole.
This is how the creation of a Smart City is done, by only seeking to promote sustainable development, in order to improve its citizen’s life quality.
Important factors to take into account when referring to a city as a “Smart City”
As stated earlier, in order for a city to become smart, it is necessary that certain technologies and factors prevail. Among them we can find:
- A stable economy
- Easy mobility
- A healthy environment
- The citizens.
- The lifestyle.
- A good administration.
Basic ingredients for the creation of Smart Cities
For the Smart Cities creation, there are certain things that can help speed up the transformation process. It is very important to know the concepts very well and take them into account when talking about smart cities. Within them we have:
Clean energies play a fundamental role in the construction of a Smart City. Increasing awareness of climate change is the reason why the use of energy from clean and renewable sources became of great importance and priority, which is why innovations and solutions in the field have increased. A city cannot be a Smart City if within its agenda there is not a purpose of being sustainable, and to make this possible, clean energy is a vital part.
The fundamental role of Smart Grids
Smart Grids are intelligent electrical networks interconnected with each other, circulating in both directions between the data control center and the user. In a Smart City, this management network allows to significantly increase energy efficiency, increasing speed and improving the conventional network.
These electrical distribution networks integrate the developments in electrical engineering, energy storage, and information and communication technologies (ICTs). They provide relevant information toward the saving and usage of energy.
Challenges to overcome
It is more than obvious that smart cities have a close relationship with technology, but this is not the only thing that makes a common city, a smart one. When there are so many factors intervening, it is clear that all of them must be maintained at a high level of excellence.
It is at this moment when the citizen’s needs and concerns for environmental issues arise and become major challenges. These end up generating a high level of anguish and alertness in each of the people and companies that constitute this city.
In regard to the obstacles that may arise when creating a Smart City, it is important to highlight some barriers that usually surround Smart Cities:
- Little information about the advantages of living in a Smart City, resulting in less interest in the development of the project.
- Lack of indicators to take appropriate measures in order to face the problems.
- Lack of leadership: leadership voices are needed for the project to follow its course as it should.
- Electoral period: the project of a Smart City must not be accepted before an election. It must be economically and politically independent.
- Lack of a business model definition that ensures the total funding of the project.