Since many world nations began urbanizing more than a century ago, cities have had to adapt to growing populations and surmount challenges of sustainability.
Today, in the era of smart cities, population growth and high-density living are still very much a reality. Waste management, energy consumption, congestion and public mobility are all pressing issues. Technology must be harnessed to deal with these problems to ensure urban spaces are livable and allow for quality of life for residents.
Leaders need to emphasize that economic concerns are not at odds with green thinking. Promoting the green economy means smart solutions that will help businesses, reduce energy consumption and have positive environmental outcomes.
Investing in energy innovation, through grant programs and other initiatives, is already helping to building a clean economy. More and more, clean-energy technology is used for the heating and cooling buildings. Electric power for both public buses and private vehicles is becoming more common. Renewable energy and waste reduction programs are on the rise in cities across Canada.
The growth of technology to enhance the lived experience of cities will only succeed if it happens alongside green initiatives, and the accompanying goal to maintain healthy and liveable urban environments for people. Through innovation, data and connected technology, smart cities have the ability to reduce the “environmental footprint” of city life.
The topic of this article is inspired by the curriculum for the SEEC program Smart Cities Leadership (Starts April 20). This unique program helps participants achieve municipal integration, effectiveness and innovation by deepening their knowledge and insight to successfully implement SMART city building initiatives.