Thinking cities

The idea of a city where you can find out when a bus will arrive using a smartphone application or where the streetlights turn on and off as you pass is no longer limited to science fiction novels.

Many cities aim to become smart cities because this label implies the fusion of technological advances with the creation of citizen-friendly spaces. This way,  a city is a place where people can use communication and infrastructure in an ecological and sustainable environment.Cities who thinkThe number of people living in cities is expected to grow by 75 percent in the next four decades, something that could well lead to a reduction in the quality of life for residents.

The smart city concept uses technology to achieve the optimal use of natural resources and public services. Smart applications help make daily life easier by performing tasks such as letting people know when the next bus will arrive, which pharmacy is open, and expediting hospital care.

There have been several successful initiatives of this type in Spain. For example, Malaga has created lanes that can charge batteries in electric cars wirelessly while they are moving. Santander’s groundbreaking «ecoasphalt» is made of 90% recycled material, which reduces contamination. Additionally, the management of public services in Santander is computerized to make people’s lives easier.

Sensors installed in trash containers in Barcelona detect when they are full and optimize their collection, which is another successful strategy. The new smart gas and water meters can be read remotely.

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