BARCELONA – THE SMARTEST CITY
As humans we are constantly striving after better, faster and more efficient ways of doing things. From mobile phones to computers, transportation, internet and everything in between, we often forget that our thirst for efficiency often comes at a price. Many of the things that make our lives easier are often a result of processes that harm the planet in one way or another. For this very reason, the idea of a “smart city” is becoming more and more popular. A city where natural resources are optimized so that less of it has to be used. A city where the lives of its citizens are improved by guaranteeing sustainable economic, social and urban development. It allows for a system where citizens can interact with the administration of a city and access information in real time. This results in a society where energy, education, health, security, waste management and transportation are all fully developed to reach an efficient network that ultimately results in “smarter” ways of living.
Barcelona has recently been called “The Smartest City in the world”, followed by New York, London and Singapore. The ranking is determined based on how advanced a city is in using “smart” traffic management and electricity grids, as well as street lighting. “Smart” meaning that it has the most efficient and technologically connected infrastructure where it collects and analyzes data from roads, buildings and bridges and thereby allowing for more efficient processes and resources.
- Currently, 50% of Barcelona´s lighting is remotely controlled, allowing for less wastage of electricity.
- A large percentage of the parks in the city have remote irrigation systems. So far 77 fountains are remotely controlled
- Since October 2012, five orthogonal bus lines have been running, allowing for faster and more sustainable transportation
- To promote electric vehicles, 500 hybrid taxis, 294 electric public vehicles, 262 recharging points and 130 electric motorbikes are on the roads of Barcelona.
- Municipal government activities are more accessible to citizens though 44 kiosks for “citizen´s attention” since the launch of the Open Data portal in 2010.
- There have also been trials in certain parts of Barcelona for special sensors on public waste bins that only alert waste collectors when the bin reaches a certain capacity
There are many other initiatives in place such as “Smart Traffic Lights”, public parking payment apps, and even support from the community for elderly people who live alone or with other elderly people to continue living in their own homes and thereby ensuring their social welfare. There are also talks of special remotely controlled flying drones that could offer first-aid medical assistance within a matter of minutes.
It is estimated that if the current trend in Barcelona continues, a total saving of over 9 Billion Euros can be expected by 2019.
If you are interested in learning more about Smart Cities, there will be a Smart City Expo in November, right here in Barcelona. See this page for more information.