Building Smart Cities – how technology can shape better places to live

2013-12-11 - ABB products and solutions are at the heart of a city’s critical infrastructure, relied upon for everything from the supply of power, water and heat, to the automation of factories and the buildings we live and work in

Today, it is clear that the path to sustainable development must include our cities. According to the United Nations, by 2030, six out of every 10 people will live in a city, and by 2050, this will increase to seven out of 10 people. Currently, around half the world’s inhabitants live in cities of between 100,000 and 500,000 people, and nearly 10 percent live in megacities (with a population of 10 million or more, as defined by Human Settlements Programme (UN HABITAT).

City Dubai

City inhabitants already consume 75 percent of the planet’s natural resources and contribute to urban activities responsible for 80 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. One reason behind the need for smart and sustainable cities is the international call for action in response to changes in global and local urban environments.

Cities expecting dramatic population growth will need new and intelligent infrastructure to meet the needs of their citizens and businesses. So too will other cities as they seek to ensure long-term prosperity. With businesses and their workforces becoming increasingly mobile, the future city environments will be shaped around competitiveness, livability and sustainability.

Advanced smart grid technologies
An effective way to support these city goals is to use technology to monitor, optimize and control key systems and infrastructure in a more intelligent way. In other words, to operate as a ‘smart city’. ABB products and solutions are at the heart of a city’s critical infrastructure, relied upon for everything from the supply of power, water and heat, to the automation of factories and the buildings we live and work in. We offer smart solutions in the areas of city communication platforms, electricity networks, water networks, transport, buildings, and district heating and cooling.

ABB has been proactive in communicating the merits of “smart cities” to public decision makers (mayors, city councilors, economic planners, policy makers) and business people as a way of reconciling the apparent contradiction of growth and sustainability. ABB’s participation at recent smart cities platforms in China, Singapore, Japan, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Benelux, Germany, etc. has given us the opportunity to share our vision and expertise in the use of advance smart grid technologies to allow more effective use of resources.

Smart Cities Council
On November 18, the Smart Cities Council released the Smart Cities Council Readiness Guide in Barcelona, Spain. This is the first-of-its-kind collaborative and comprehensive framework for city leaders.

The guide is a collection of policies, best practices and case studies. It helps a city create its own customized "wish list" with the confidence that it has not left out anything essential and that all the pieces will work together, even when built in stages. The guide outlines 27 proven principles that will guarantee success and avoid pitfalls.

The Smart Cities Council is comprised of the leading companies in the smart technologies sector. Its goal is to accelerate the growth of smart cities worldwide by providing city leaders and urban planners with tools and resources, such as the Readiness Guide, financial guides, policy frameworks, and "mentoring" sessions.

The Readiness Guide was prepared with input from best-in-class companies across many industries, including ABB. In addition, more than 50 of the world’s foremost independent experts on smart city development—from academia, research and advocacy—have reviewed and contributed to the guide.

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