#4 [Smart Cities Web Series] – FEW SMART CITIES

While the world is still on a wedge to decide whether to be a smart city too soon or not, A few pacers are already named & operating as the top Smart Cities of the world in terms of infrastructure, technology, automation, etc.


The Amsterdam Smart City initiative which began in 2009 currently includes 170+ projects collaboratively developed by local residents, government and businesses. These projects run on an interconnected platform through wireless devices to enhance the city’s real time decision making abilities.

The City of Amsterdam claims the purpose of the projects is to reduce traffic, save energy and improve public safety. A resident developed app is Moby Park, which allows owners of parking spaces to rent them out to people for a fee. The data generated from this app can then be used by the City to determine parking demand and traffic flows in Amsterdam. A number of homes have also been provided with smart energy meters, with incentives provided to those that actively reduce energy consumption.

Other initiatives include flexible street lighting (smart lighting) which allows municipalities to control the brightness of street lights, and smart traffic management where traffic is monitored in real time by the City and information about current travel time on certain roads is broadcast to allow motorists to determine the best routes to take.


Barcelona has established a number of ‘smart city’ projects applications. For example, sensor technology has been implemented in the irrigation system, where real time data is transmitted to gardening crews about the level of water required for the plants. Barcelona has also designed a new bus network based on data analysis of the most common traffic flows in Barcelona, utilising primarily vertical, horizontal and diagonal routes with a number of interchanges. Integration of multiple smart city technologies can be seen through the implementation of smart traffic lights as buses run on routes designed to optimise the number of green lights. In addition, in an emergency, the approximate route of the emergency vehicle is entered into the traffic light system, setting all the lights to green as the vehicle approaches through a mix of GPS and traffic management software, allowing emergency services to reach the incident without delay.

Columbus, Ohio

In the summer of 2017, the City of Columbus, Ohio began its pursuit of a smart city initiative. It partnered with American Electric Power Ohio to create a group of new electric vehicle charging stations. Many smart cities such as Columbus are using agreements such as this one to prepare for climate change, expand electric infrastructure, convert existing public vehicle fleets to electric cars, and create incentives for people to share rides when commuting. Because autonomous vehicles are currently seeing “an increased industrial research and legislative push globally”, building routes and connections for them is another important part of the Columbus Smart City initiative.


In 2013, the Smart Dubai project was initiated by Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of UAE, which contained more than 100 initiatives to make Dubai a smart city by 2030. The project aimed to integrate private and public sectors, enabling citizens to access these sectors through their smartphones. Some initiatives include the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy to create driverless transits, fully digitizing government, business and customer information and transactions, and providing citizens 5000 hotspots to access government applications by 2021. Two mobile applications, mPay and DubaiNow, facilitate various payment services for citizens ranging from utilities or traffic fines to educational, health, transport, and business services. In addition, the Smart Nol Card is a unified rechargeable card enabling citizens to pay for all transportation services such as metro, buses, water bus, and taxis.


Dublin finds itself as an unexpected capital for smart cities. The smart city programme for the city is run by Smart Dublin an initiative of the four Dublin Local Authorities to engage with smart technology providers, researchers and citizens to solve city challenges and improve city life. It includes Dublinked- Dublin’s open data platform that hosts open source data to smart city applications.

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Madrid, Spain’s pioneering smart city, has adopted the MiNT Madrid Inteligente/Smarter Madrid platform to integrate the management of local services. These include the sustainable and computerized management of infrastructure, garbage collection and recycling, and public spaces and green areas, among others. The programme is run in partnership with IBMs INSA, making use of the latter’s Big Data and analytics capabilities and experience. Madrid is considered to have taken a bottom-up approach to smart cities, whereby social issues are first identified and individual technologies or networks are then identified to address these issues. This approach includes support and recognition for startups through the Madrid Digital Start Up programme.


In December 2015, Manchester’s City Verve project was chosen as the winner of a government-led technology competition and awarded £10m to develop an Internet of Things (IoT) smart cities demonstrator.

City Verve is based on an open data principle that incorporates a “platform of platforms” which ties together applications for its four key themes: transport and travel; health and social care; energy and the environment; culture and the public realm. This will also ensure that the project is scalable and able to be redeployed to other locations worldwide.


Milan, Italy was prompted to begin its Smart City strategies and initiatives by the European Union’s Smart Cities and Communities initiative. However, unlike many European cities, Milan’s Smart City strategies focus more on social sustainability rather than environmental sustainability. This focus is almost exclusive to Milan and has a major influence in the way content and way its strategies are implemented as shown in the case study of the Bicocca District in Milan.

Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes has a commitment to making itself a Smart City. Currently the mechanism through which this is approached is the MK: Smart initiative, a collaboration of local government, businesses, and academia and 3rd sector organisations. The focus of the initiative is on making energy use, water use and transport more sustainable whilst promoting economic growth in the city. Central to the project is the creation of a state-of-the-art ‘MK Data Hub’ which will support the acquisition and management of vast amounts of data relevant to city systems from a variety of data sources. These will include data about energy and water consumption, transport data, data acquired through satellite technology, social and economic datasets, and crowd sourced data from social media or specialized apps.


International evaluation of Seoul: This is world’s number one city in municipal e-governance for seven consecutive times from 2003 to 2016 (Rutgers University, USA), Ranked 3rd in the world in the number of international conferences hosted (UIA 2015), Ranked 6th in the world in Global city competitiveness (Mori Memorial Foundation – Japan 2016), Ranked 8th among the world’s smartest cities (Forbes, USA 2016).

Focus of Indian Smart cities:

Quality of Life: To improve Livability, sustainability and economic development.

Transportation: New Public Bus stands at the periphery of cities to avoid entry of buses into the city. And up gradation of the existing bus stands. Widening of roads and anti-encroachment drives. Additional Parking stands for the public/Private 4 wheelers, 3 wheelers and 2 wheelers. And City surveillance center(s) to monitor the real time traffic using huge no. of Cameras.

Water availability in the city and reduction of Water wastage: 24×7 water supply to most of the wards in the city by providing possible no. of hand pumps, tube wells, OHTs along with necessary distribution network.

Solid Waste Management Programs: Increase in collection efficiency to about 90%, assisted by no. of GPS enabled vehicles. Vehicles are fitted with loudspeakers to create awareness on waste segregation. Door to door collection in all most of the wards. Land parcels identification for decentralized waste treatment facilities.

Safety and Security conditions in the City: To help overall crime rate reduction to a lowest %, N0. Of CCTVs to be installed at important junctions with control room at SP office. City should have No. of police stations including a few dedicated for women and a few dedicated to weaker section. Huge no. of LED Street lights to be installed for the coverage is improved by good %. And GPS enabled PCR van. Community & Cultural policing which includes formation of PINK BRIGDE, HAWK SQUAD for safety of girls and senior citizens. DIU (District Intelligence Unit) to set up for surveillance and vigilance. Traffic rules and safety awareness camps to be conducted. Women and Child Helpline No.: ex:  1800 345 6247 &: 1098.

Energy availability and reduction of outages in the city:  project funded through IPDS underway for underground cabling, and other infrastructural enhancements. 90% of households have electricity connections. Great focus to increase Power supply towards 65% and reduce T&D losses to very low % from 42% to 33%. Power supply to see a major improvement with average daily supply of 20-22 hours.  Government buildings with solar roof tops. Billing and Collection Efficiency 90%; Online Payment, Grievance Redressal System and response to be outsourced, every substation to be connected to at least 2 grid service station to prevent any breakdown.

Housing Situation in the City:  Initiatives to bridge housing gap, Online building plan approval system under e-municipality/Corporation time to be reduced to a couple of days. Online holding tax collections to be improved through rigorous efforts viz, digitization of records, introduction of online payment and special drives. Automated GIS base map reconciliation with municipal database.

Local government: committed to citizen centric governance and excellence in service delivery. An administratively efficient, accountable, responsive and transparent government departments through ICT based governance system and service delivery. City will institutionalize continuous engagement with its citizens in the decision making process. Enhance outreach of citizen centric services through ICT with effective grievance redressal system.

… to be contd

Get the Essence & deep understanding of Smart Cities by understaing a few applications in the next episode.

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