Smart Cities: the Heartbeat of Our Cities ABC Humanity Tribes

By Dinis Guarda - Mar 29, 2020
Smart Cities architecture by Dinis Guarda

Cities are all about people's lives and thanks to 4IR technologies such Blockchain, AI and IoT, Smart Cities have become the heartbeat of our Cities ABC Humanity Tribes

“Men come together in cities in order to live:
they remain together in order to live the good life.” — Aristotle

What is the city but the people? — William Shakespeare

“Urbanization, one of humankind’s most successful and ambitious programs, is the triumph of the unnatural over the natural, the grid over the organic… Underway on a scale never before witnessed, one side effect of urbanization is the liberation of vast depopulated territories for the efficient production of ‘nature’.” — Bruce M

“A smart city is an intelligent town that provides enormous possibilities for human growth through art, culture, social, architectural, economic, political, environmental, and scientific flowering with the optimal mix of nature, technology, humanity, and arts.”― Amit Ray, Peace Bliss Beauty and Truth: Living with Positivity

Cities are all about people's lives. Big social groups of people living and collaborating together. Whether you are in London, New York, Singapore, Tokyo or Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Barcelona these cities offer the best in the world and all these cities are able to serve so many millions of people together because of their adoption of smart technologies which makes them leading smart cities.

Smart Cities are the heart of the beating of the best in the world and in the interstice of all challenges, innovation and concerns. Special when it comes to organisation of society, citizens, innovation, technology and data, smart cities are the center of all operations and challenges and opportunities. A Smart city definition is still open but is an urban area that uses different types of 4IR - Fourth Industrial Revolution - technology, special digital transformation and solutions such as blockchain, artificial intelligent, electronic Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to collect data and then use insights gained from that data to manage assets, resources and services efficiently.

Smart cities, like the city states in the past, embed the highest hopes of humanity through the promise of harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4IR innovative technologies for better lives and social harmony. However, smart cities represent also and could incarnate the challenges, fears of a dystopian ecosystem of over ‘controlled lives’, society in some kind of panopticons governed by the emergence and disruption coming out of artificial intelligence, IoT, Blockchain and automated devices augmented tools and software digital transformation systems.

Since the 20th century the world is moving to cities, fast and for the long term. In a cognitive and increasingly driven by tech era, cities themselves are moving and changing faster than ever. Cities are evolving, ever-changing, not fixed on a marked destination. Humanity is at the most important moment of its inception in an important point in that evolution, as new forces emerge and combine to create new ways for cities to work and societies to live.

Smart city data architecture solutions
by Dinis Guarda for citiesabc.com

As big data and Social media flourishes in this environment, revolutionizing the way leaders, citizens interact with space, cities will be the biggest challenge and opportunity for the next 100 years. The data, technologies that drives the smarter city must be rightly managed and secure, to safely fuel unhindered progress.

As national governments increasingly focus on national issues, cities are at the forefront of all human activities and must take greater advantage of the most advanced technologies to update service delivery. New possibilities and business models target the creation of radical new efficiencies, sustainable solutions for long-standing challenges.

Cognitive computing, blockchain technology solutions and artificial intelligence in particular and its capacity for building citizen engagement, identity and sustainable models of circular economic values introduces fresh opportunities for government organizations to improve citizens' lives and the business environment, deliver personalized experiences, and optimize program and service outcomes.

The choices we need to make today are multiple and mostly about what makes a city smart empower our lives and make them matter for multiple reasons. The challenging momentum of technological innovation will continue, and in the next decades will be bigger than in all history of humanity. So the way we plan, manage and architect smart cities has to be done in a way to increase in the near future, giving us new ways to address pending global challenges, in areas such as social inclusion, climate change, inequalities, health or education.

On the other hand because the majority of the human race leaves in societies and these individuals whose lives will depend on such choices will be city dwellers. Yet, for city leaders, investors, and citizens, such choices often remain difficult to make because they are complex, and often rely on imperfect or asymmetrical information. Real estate tactics have often prevailed over transport, energy or waste management concerns. Quality of life seldom received priority over urbanistic, architectural or technological ambitions. And efficiency sometimes eclipses social harmony.

Cities abc - smart cities ecosystem architecture by Dinis Guarda

In all avenues of human challenging life, it remains extremely difficult to improve without thinking inclusively and empowering both humans, nature and balance in a way that can be measured. It is hence no surprise that so many ‘smart city indices’ have blossomed over the past few years. The main reason is simple: the quasi-totality of existing indices remains technology-centric. But lots of work needs to be done to build the right basis of smart cities balance solutions.

4IR Blockchain and AI in particular are changing the way cities operate, deliver, and maintain social cultural and public amenities, from structure, urban planning, lighting and transportation to connectivity and health services. However, the adoption smart cities infrastructure has a long way to go and can be obstructed by the selection of strategies that doesn’t efficiently work together or integrate with other social, economic and cultural city services.

For cities to truly benefit from the potential that smart cities offer, a change in mindset is required. The authorities should plan longer and across multiple departments. We can easily see that cities can benefit tremendously from technological advances but work has to be done between investors, entrepreneurs, startups, corporations, universities, governments and international organisations.

Smart Cities if well managed are critical now more than ever to lead us in these challenging times. They are the heartbeat of the 21st century because we are a digital world that needs data to improve our civilisation but also the frame we need to use for us. The focus should be on it as a way to solve humanity's challenges in an empowering way.

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