Smart city, features and challenges present in its construction.

The creation of a smart city seeks to meet the needs of its citizens by guaranteeing them better quality of life conditions.

With this, its implementation seeks to “respond to the following global challenges: the increase in population and its concentration, pollution, lack of resources, water management or energy efficiency” (Paniagua, 2017).

These cities “take full advantage of the technological advances to save costs by being more efficient in providing new economic and social services, reducing their environmental footprint, stimulating local innovation and moving towards new forms of government” (Creating Smart Cities, 2018).

Currently, smart cities present great challenges for their implementation, these being: the urbanization process and the digital revolution.

Finally, among the fundamental characteristics for a city to be called intelligent are: the implementation of renewable energies, savings and cost efficiency, the interconnected transport system, among others.

What factors affect the creation of a smart city?

The intelligent transformation can be framed in a scenario characterized by two great moments of contemporary society:

  • The urbanization process that will mark the 21st century with greater force. Since 2007, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. It is estimated that by 2020 the world population will be over 8400 million.
  • The digital revolution with the development of ICT. It has led to the proliferation of devices connected between people and machines. It is estimated that by 2020, 50,000 million devices will be connected, in the same way societies will be collaborative through new business models.

Based on the foregoing, a new, more demanding and participatory citizenship emerges, with a different way of understanding and living the city, and with a greater concern to integrate into economic and social processes (Herrera, 2018).

Smart city trends in 2019

The following describes the trends where the integration of the technology is evidenced:

  1. Acceptance of technologies such as IoT and WiFi in rural areas, and smart city methodologies in community planning. Big Data is a key part of this.
  2. A human-centered approach where intelligent communities are interested in the person and their resilience.
  3. Strong impulse towards more intuitive processes that include machine learning to collect and analyze data from communities. Examples of this are found in Cisco DNA for Cities and the use of a more intuitive WAN (SD-WAN) network.
  4. Transition from CapEx to OpEx by communities that integrate smart city projects into their regular operating budgets.
  5. Instant interoperability between devices and platforms, as IoT connects more diverse technologies to constantly growing networks.
  6. Greater citizen commitment in decision making through the evolution of applications and as a key part is artificial intelligence.
  7. Decentralization of control of data centers, technologies and decision-making by smart city leaders, in order to achieve a more human-centered approach to serve citizens.
  8. Greater transparency of the government thanks to the use of mobile applications that improve collaboration in real time.
  9. Opportunity for a smarter administration of financial resources and opportunities in income generation in 2019. This would allow greater government openness to partner with local businesses, entertainment and tourism retailers seeking stimulation of economic growth and income.
  10. Use of low-cost loTs such as sensor networks and cameras at the community level to improve public safety and response times. (Dodson, Kenn 2019).

The importance of sustainability in a smart city

In general terms, the concept of smart and sustainable cities or territories refers to the extensive and efficient use of available technologies, in particular the so-called ICT.

These are aimed at improving the quality of life of the population, which will reduce social inequality.

The above is compatible with the concept of inclusive innovation.

In this, the need arises that the benefits of innovation permeate mainly the less favored sectors of the population.

This will seek to generate greater care for the environment that guarantees a healthy environment for citizens. (Alvarado, 2018).

Sustainable development in the smart city is conceived by improving urban life, creating green public spaces, reducing pollution with sustainable mobility programs or plans, reducing pollution.

With this, cities will be more resistant and advanced in IoT tools and Big Data analytical systems. (Secmotic, 2019).

Thus, proper management of natural resources is possible thanks to the support of ICT and the context created by the current digital era.

However, a scenario in which the smart city is consistent in all its initiatives must be taken into account.

Sustainability is a central and versatile value that ends up benefiting all the elements of the urban ecosystem, including the natural one (Isan Ana, 2017).

smart cities

Characteristics of sustainable cities

The core of a true smart city is made up of businesses and people.

In this way, it offers responsible and high quality services that involve the return of investment for municipal authorities. (Comextic, 2019).

These are the characteristics that sustainable cities must present:

  • Have renewable energy, savings and cost efficiency.
  • Having an interconnected transport system, that is, an increase in electric vehicles and promotion and development of bicycle use.
  • Manage electricity from a network that will be coordinated by wind panels and biomass plants.
  • Have smart sensors in public services.
  • Practice urban agriculture (Secmotic, 2019).

How are Latin American cities doing in the creation of smart cities?

The following are the first six Latin American cities best placed in the ranking of cities of the IESE Cities in Motion (ICIM) Index of the year 2019:

  • Santiago de Chile, position number 66 with a performance (RA) and an index of 60.96.
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina, ranked 77 with a performance (M) and an index of 58.42.
  • Montevideo, Uruguay, ranked 92 with a performance (M) and an index of 54.75.
  • San José de Costa Rica, ranked 112 with a performance (M) and an index of 49.01.
  • Panama City, Panama, ranked 114 with a performance (M) and an index of 47.51.
  • Bogotá D.C, Colombia, ranked 147 with a performance (M) and an index of 46.01.

39% of Latin American cities are located between positions 131 to 174 and only 16% of cities are between positions 87 and 130 of the general ranking.

Ranking leaders compared to Latin American cities

The Latin American cities are behind: London, New York, and Amsterdam, which occupy the first three places in the list worldwide, these cities have:

  • Greater access to technology.
  • Greater international projection.
  • Better urban planning.
  • Better transport systems that improve mobility.
  • A better quality of the environment.
  • Greater human capital related to education.

Santiago, Chile, is a leader in its region and stands out in the urban and environmental planning dimensions.

Together with Buenos Aires, it is the most innovative city in Latin America.

The smart city Santiago, is the first smart city prototype in Chile, designed in response to the unplanned urbanization and the need to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants.

Its future is forged on the basis of projects that have their maximum inspiration in innovation, services, sustainability and the care of public space. (IESE Business School, 2019).

Finally, there are barriers to implementing a smart city. An example of this is found in the creation of projects that promote sustainability and innovation, in many cases, they lack the use of technologies in their planning.

Similarly, the following obstacles to implementing smart cities such as:

  • Budget barriers and lack of support from the National Government are the most recognized obstacles.
  • Difficulties in the planning and execution of projects of this type.
  • Lack of institutional capacities (Human Talent) for formulation and execution of this type of projects.

Another important factor is the lack of business models that ensure financing for the development of the programs.

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