The secret to truly smart cities

Pauline McGuirk

Smart lights, smart water meters, smart waste disposal, even smart parking are great ideas, but if only a section of the community can use it, is it really as smart as we think?

The roll-out of smart technology into local government areas around Australia is happening at speed, with the Federal Government offering millions of dollars in grants to get the technology and infrastructure in place to make our lives easier. Innovations like efficient buildings and public lighting; access to clean energy and water supplies; more efficient travelling both on public and private transport, as well as increased safety and security for the community.

Pauline McGuirk
Pauline McGuirk

If we believe the hype, all of these are essential now for modern cities to stay relevant, and provide quality living standards for all citizens. Although it sounds like a “smart city” can make life easier for everyone, in reality, it doesn’t. There are not just sectors of the community that are marginalised by new technology such as older citizens who may not have ready access to or understand how to use digital devices, but the solutions this new technology provides, are often not of any benefit to the general community.

“The crux of it is that with the smart technology available at present, there is huge tendency for its application to be led by technology, rather than be problemdriven,” says Professor Pauline McGuirk, Professor of Human Geography at the University of Wollongong, School of Geography and Sustainable Communities. « The big tech corporates have the product to sell and have been approaching cities to market it, rather than the city deciding beforehand what technology is needed to best benefit its community.

>> Read : The secret to truly smart cities

Source : Keeli Cambourne

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