Development Of Smart Cities – A Sustainability Objective

In recent years, there has been a shift in cities striving to evolve as smart instead of focusing on sustainability goals. However, these are interconnected, and often smart cities share similar goals as sustainable cities. Through the way of following sustainable practices and achieving the green goals as per authority regulations and standards, the ecosystem shall eventually develop as a smart place.

To make it short, smart cities can be defined as a city that aims to becomesmarter, more sustainable, efficient, equitable, and livable.

Smart Cities, by the name focuses more on technology and development rather than the way of living for human beings. As Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has begun to reshape our society including our daily lifestyle activities of communicating with others, advanced high tech transportation facilities and services, homes, offices, and human body analytics through smart devices.

All smart stuffs in the present world are linked to the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which provides a level of intelligence and information coordination around us through sensor-based technology. A smart city is a broad term for using information technology to manage the services, infrastructure, and facilities of a city. The term relates to various approaches such as universal computing, big data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence. The idea of sustainability is also included in smart city initiatives but in some cases, it is not the focus. Smart city spending in many cases focuses on transportation, such as highways, police and security, city services, cost reduction, and infrastructure management.

A Sustainable City is a city that has supports the dual goal of climate change and quality of life of the humans. Quality of life is commonly measured as self-reported happiness.

Sustainable city initiatives are often focused primarily on policies and physical initiatives such as green space, public transport, architecture, community facilities, green & blue infrastructure, streets, and public space. Where a smart city depends on the information and communication technology to manage itself, sustainable development of a city prioritizes overall growth, equality, and protection of the city.

Sustainability, with reference to smart cities, is ideally about projects that implement the concepts of ‘green building’ within an existing city or community in addition to factoring the behavior of the overall society and balancing their needs via efficient provision of resources. Being an eco-friendly and sustainable city also involves recycling waste to form compost for gardens, creating methane gas to power utilities, utilizing wind and solar power to meet some of the power demands. It also involves charging the water table through rainwater harvesting, as well as sewage treatment that provides treated sewage in the form of water for gardening purposes and construction/cleaning. It is about smart architecture and urban planning that ensures that wind and natural light resources are in abundance and well-engineered, thereby creating habitable outdoor and indoor spaces that are micro-climatic sensitive and comfortable in addition to optimizing its infrastructureand the loads from active measures. That’s the best way to make sure new developments turn out to be smart cities.

It is important to focus on areas such as air and water pollution control, sewage disposal, connectivity that ensures low road pollution emissions, a maintenance and management system that includes e-governance and online citizen-based solutions and using ‘eco-friendly’ building material that should not create ecological imbalances.

Apart from conserving the environment, smart sustainable cities also focus on creating just equal and supportive communities via creating a socio-economic balance. A new criterion that is trending in smart sustainable cities is one of resilience and future proofing, ensuring that the cities and communities are there to last and are prepared for environmental and health emergencies.

Overall, it can be generally inferred that while ‘smart city’ is mostly a growth-seeking, technology-focused, and business-oriented concept, ‘sustainable city’ takes a more conservative, design-oriented, and predominately environment-based approach which shall be more beneficial in terms of human health and surroundings. It is important to acknowledge that both serve one another and the governments and developers should aim to strike the balance and engage technology to serve the population from a sustainable, environmental and social metrics.

Nonetheless, due to the complex nature of urban development, both concepts can be valid frameworks to guide sustainability transformation processes. The decision of which to adopt ultimately depends on current conditions and future aspirations of policymakers and planners.

By finding synergies between smart’s systems-focused approach and sustainability’s inclination for balance, experts can always strive to make the best of both worlds.

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