Living in the city will be smarter and smarter tomorrow

Living in the city will be smarter and smarter tomorrow
Visuals: Ingenieurbüro Kruse

More and more cities are adopting smart strategies to significantly improve the quality of our lives. Here are five practical examples.

Maximising the efficiency of large cities – where two thirds of the world’s population will live by 2050 – in terms of time, cost and energy. This goal can be achieved through the smart and connected management of traffic and of various services – even down to rubbish bins! Here are five strategic projects that point the way to a sustainable future.

Oslo Airport City: removing stress from daily routine

The construction of a smart city near the Oslo airport, designed for 25,000 inhabitants, will begin next year. It will have an area of 360 hectares and will be powered only by renewable energy sources – geothermal and solar – which are even expected to generate more energy than the city consumes, allowing the excess to be sold to nearby communities. Most destinations will be reachable on foot and it should take no more than five minutes to get to the stops for the autonomous buses. Intelligent traffic control, real-time information on passenger volume in buses, and smart parking will minimise daily commute times. It will take 30 years to complete, but the first residents are expected in 2022.

Steimker Gärten: comfort for every dweller

Green, sustainable and intelligent: since 2016, the Volkswagen Group has been working on developing a model urban district for electric mobility. Located just ten minutes from downtown Wolfsburg, it is a 22-hectare area which will have 1,250 residential units with electronically controlled ventilation, lighting, and locks. This city quarter will also feature shops, schools and a rest home. Transport will be flexible, emission-free and need-based, and parking facilities will also be connected, enabling residents to quickly determine how best to reach their destinations, all thanks to a fibre-optic network and public Wi-Fi to ensure fast and smooth data transfer. Transport is just one aspect: the project also includes smart home building automation, environmentally friendly power from photovoltaic systems and sustainable use of rainwater.

Santander: sensor-based urban efficiency

The northern Spanish city of Santander is a European pioneer in smart-city strategies. Since 2010, residents have been able to use the SmartSantander app, which gives them real-time information on the city buses. Sensors register and send passenger volume data to a control centre. When too many passengers have to stand, more vehicles are deployed, including some with hybrid drive systems. Sensors also help control traffic lights to benefit buses. It’s an example of efficiency, but just one of many: the car parks broadcast how many spaces are available, once again via the app, and even the rubbish bins have sensors that alert waste disposal personnel when they are 90 percent full, in order to avoid unnecessary trips for the bin lorry. Even the plants in public areas are only watered when sensors register a humidity level below a certain point.


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Estonia: a country in the cloud

Smart-city strategies simplify our lives and generally work well, so why shouldn’t they also be applied to entire countries? This is the case for Estonia, which leads the world in digital projects. Estonians can vote online instead of going to polling stations, and no more than five minutes are needed to complete their online tax returns. New companies can be registered in under 20 minutes, and future plans call for automating as much bureaucracy as possible, so much so that child support payments will start flowing as soon as a child is born. As of late 2014, non-citizens have also been able to apply for “e-residency” status so they can use all the services with their virtual citizenship.

Tianjin: a smart-city model project

With more than 15 million people, Tianjin is an industrial centre and major transportation hub for the region around the Beijing delta. The “Smart Tianjin” initiative seeks to improve the quality of life and make the city more cost-efficient with the help of networked solutions for mobility, energy, buildings and safety. In addition to the intelligent linking of different means of transport, plans call for virtual power stations as well as energy storage systems and energy-efficient heating, hot water, and cooling facilities. Bosch smart home security technology will include fire alarms, access control and video surveillance, making everyday life simpler for the owners.

SourceTOGETHER.net – Volkswagen AG

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