Four questions answered about smart cities.

Maybe you’ve heard the term floating around, but haven’t really paid it much attention. Perhaps the words “smart city” sound like something from a distant future, unrelated to our present-day reality. If this is you: think again. Smart cities are here, and they’re gaining traction the world over for their innovative and sustainable approaches to dealing with the challenges of contemporary life.

HERE, WE ANSWER FOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT SMART CITIES TO HELP FAMILIARISE YOU WITH THIS PHENOMENON:

  • WHAT IS A SMART CITY?

A smart city is an urban environment that uses information and communication technology, and the Internet of Things to run the resources and assets that the city needs. It collects data from citizens to monitor and manage infrastructure such as traffic and transport, energy and water supply, and waste disposal, as well as schools, hospitals and other community services.

  • WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SMART CITIES?

Smart cities are also called eco-cities or sustainable cities. They’re fundamentally about reducing our environmental impact on the planet by reducing CO2 emissions through a number of measures, including using clean and efficient transportation methods for people and goods. Smart cities are also designed to optimise various services and to keep people safe.

  • WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SMART CITIES?

Singapore, San Francisco and Oslo are all examples ofsmart cities. While Singapore has road sensors, phased traffic lights and smart parking, San Francisco uses 100% renewable energy for all its municipal services. Oslo has equipped thousands of streetlights with sensors so that they can adjust their brightness depending on the season.

  • DOES SOUTH AFRICA HAVE ANY PLANS TO CREATE SMART CITIES?

In February this year, President Ramaphosa announced plans to develop a new smart city in Lanseria, just outside Johannesburg. The development will be home to between 350,000 and 500,000 people within a decade, he said, and will be smart, 5G-ready, and a leading benchmark for green infrastructure on the continent and in the world.