The debate about SMART CITY is booming, both as an opportunity to drive a more sustainable economic development and an incubator of innovation and transformation that can merge the Virtual World of Mobile Services, Internet of Things and Social Networks with the Physical Infrastructures of Smart Building, Smart Utilities (i.e. electricity, heating, water, waste, transportation, and unified communication&collaboration infrastructure).
William J. Mitchell stated it many years ago “Our cities are fast transforming into artificial ecosystems of interconnected, interdependent intelligent digital organisms”, but now there is a growing agreement about leading advisors like Forrester, McKinsey, Pike Research, ABIResearch and investors, including public ones like the EU SETIS Roadmap (next figure), that the transformation of the metropolitan landscape is driven by the opportunity to embed intelligence into any component of our towns and connect them in real time merging physical world of objects, humans and virtual conversation and transactions.
Let’s start with some examples of smart city investments:
· South Korea : Songdo (Incheon) privately developed city : $35-$42 billion, climbing, flagship of Cisco’s Smart + Connected communities, ubiquitous tele-presence
· India: Lavasa, IPO $437 million (planned), Hindustan Construction Company ,Wipro and Cisco; Kochi: 90K new jobs, Nano City,
· China is the country where the transformation is more quickly: 18+ cities have announced smart city plans. Ningbo:“smart city action plan” $6.4 billion in 5 years, 87 individual projects. premier Wen Jiabao speech @Wuxi: “Internet + Internet of Things = Wisdom of the Earth.” Plus: Caofeidian ($450 billions by 2030) Beijing, Shanghai, Wuxi, Chengdu, Wuhan, Kunming, Foshan, Shenzhen, Shenyang ($40 million), Hunan cluster (8 cities) and Guangzhou.
· United Arab Emirates: Masdar, $22 billions (Project by Norman Foster)
· Many other leading Smart Cities: King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC, Saudi Arabia),Malta, Skolkovo (Russia), PlanIT Valley (Portugal), Dubuque (US:Iowa), Holyoke (US:Massachusetts), San Diego (US: California), Amsterdam (NL EUR1,1 billion by 2012), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Singapore, Sydney, Yokohama & Fujisawa (Japan), Curitiba (BR).
Recently several analysts provided some exciting forecasts, for example:
· ABI Research on smart city : $8.1 billion spent in 2010, $39.5 billion by 2016. There are 102 active or completed smart city projects (EU 38 cities, NA 35, APAC 21, MEA 6)
· Pike Research on smart city : over $100 billion will be spent in next 10 years
· Lux Research: “Technologies for Future Cities: Integrating Efficiency, Sustainability, and Environmental Concerns”: by 2032, over $40 trillion should be required to retrofit and expand dated urban infrastructure in Brownfield cities, adding to investment for building new Greenfield efficient future cities like Masdar in Abu Dhabi: $22 billion and Songdo in Korea: $42 billion.
There are many consulting companies that have dedicated teams on smart cities that are publishing new reports, for example:
· McKinsey has previously stated that “Over the next 15 years, 600 cities will account for more than 60 percent of global GDP growth” and provided a tool “Global Cities of the future” for “Exploring the globe and view data on the dramatic urban growth expected by 2025”, in another research focused on How green are China’s cities?, and in “What Matters online” has identified the “What matters about Cities” as a core topic in which is involving some of the best thinkers from around the world in the discussion.
· Forrester launched a Smart City Tweet Jam and published many researches addressing the different segment of Smart City stakeholders, for example: Helping CIOs Understand “Smart City” Initiatives, Securing Smart City Infrastructure, Smart City Leaders Need Better Governance Tools.
Not for profits organization are also working seriously on this topic, for example:
· As part of the SMART2020 program The Climate Group has published, Information Marketplaces: The New Economics of Cities, that was written in partnership with, Arup, Accenture, Horizon and the University of Nottingham, in order to investigates how technology can be used in cities to meet the growing challenges of expanding urbanization.
· ICLEI, that published the Global Report “Financing the Resilient City, A white paper” seeks to build Sustainable Communities and Cities by enabling local governments achieve justice, security, resilience, viable economies, and healthy environments. The four initiatives are: Resilient Communities and Cities, Just and Peaceful Communities, Viable Local Economies, and Eco-efficient Cities. For an overview you can read the Resilient Cities profile brochure.
Smart City revolution is coming to Italy, too. Some early projects were already done in the past, for example European Smart Cities project compared Ancona (51th), Perugia (52th), Trento (45th) and Trieste (49th) with other early smart EU cities, more recently the Rete città intelligenti was promoted by ForumPA with IBM, including smaller towns effort like Monteveglio with Transition Town or those involved in the ZeroCO2 Communities project.
But it was the FP7 European Initiative on Smart Cities that has ignited many local Public administrations, such as Genova, Torino, Bari, Firenze, Milano, Parma, Palermo to launch new initiatives in order to take advantage of the opportunity of funding (10 000 – 12 000 M€ for a total of 40 000 M€ ). Obviously competition is hard since EU will co-finance only 25 large cities (>500 000 inhabitants) and 5 very large cities (>1 000 000 inhabitants) committing to implement the proposed demonstration, testing and deployment programmes in the 3 sectors – buildings, energy networks and transport and to go beyond the 2020 EU climate and energy targets.
There are also many other efforts in place, one of the most forward looking is at the heart of the design of the EXPO 2015 exhibition (6 month since may 1st 2015, 20 million visits planned), inheriting the legacy of EXPO 2010, whose theme “better city better life” was already connected to the development of sustainable smart cities . Digital Smart City Expo 2015 will be built and operated on state of the art technology, in order to propose a model for Smart Cities of the Future, in terms of infrastructure, operations and services to visitors/citizens. It will also “empower visitors to become food-aware citizens, combining groundbreaking technological services with environmental sustainability as a template for our future cities”.