A Smart city is a city that incorporates information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance the quality and performance of urban services such as energy, transportation and utilities in order to reduce resource consumption, wastage and overall costs.
Smart cities deploy communication and information technologies to improve services and the way the city is run, such as supporting public transport that can respond to varying demands and lighting systems that can be optimised to reduce energy bills.
Mesh networks are set to take smart cities to the next level. They involve a collection of access points that talk to each other, making them more reliable, cheaper and able to take advantage of 5G, with download speeds and bandwidths hundreds of times greater than current ones.
These connections would pave way for autonomous vehicles and drones.
Many more people will live in megacities where high levels of population density mean the problems (jobs, housing, transport congestion; pollution and health issues) can outweigh the benefits.
Another factor that is of high relevance in this respect is the connection between urban cities and rural communities. Often they fulfill different but complementary functions in a system or network of central places (the concept of centrality).
Smart cities would learn to leverage hackathons (
a collaborative gathering of programmers) and challenges to apply exponential technologies while ensuring citizen engagement, transparency, governance, and accountability among city agencies, citizens, businesses and visitors. Their ultimate goal is nurturing “smart citizen scientists” where everyone pitches in to improve city services.
Indeed, Smart cities will nurture smart citizens.