Smart City for a Better Environment

  • {{"article.by"|translate}} Mila Velkovska
  • {{"article.posted"|translate}} 11-01-2021

Smart City for a Better Environment



The concept of “Smart City” opens new, modern view of public services supported by the use of digital technologies. Smart City is also known as an ecosystem whose members, each of them with its own goals and interests, cooperate for a better life. The main goal of the Smart City is to optimize city’s operations and services and connect with the citizens. It is enabled by new emerging technologies, and mostly by the Internet of Things technology (IoT). Therefore, the Smart City itself means data transfer and data analytics in a network connected systems supported by the internet, in order to monitor and manage transport systems, street lighting systems, water supply systems, waste, schools, libraries, hospitals and other similar services.

Throughout the history, mostly, people have lived in small communities. Over the years, especially the last decades, this figure has been significantly changed, and the world is witnessing mass migration from rural to urban areas (Tab.1). It is assumed that by 2050, 68% of the world population will live in urban areas (source: UN). As the cities continue to grow, so does the carbon footprint left by the citizens.

Numerous challenges related to providing homes, transport, energy systems, workplaces, education, and the greater demand for resources, can be solved by implementing Smart City technologies. Some cities, such as: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Copenhagen, New York, Dubai, Singapore…, have already implemented such programs and applications.

Tab.1 Population increase in urban areas [percentage]

Year

Source

Percentage of population in urban areas

Note

1960

UN World Urbanization Prospects

approximately 33.7%

Twice as many people lived in rural areas.

1990

UN World Urbanization Prospects

approximately 43.1%

2007

UN World Urbanization Prospects

approximately 50.01%

For the first time, the population in urban areas exceeds the population in rural areas.

2017

UN World Urbanization Prospects

more than 55%

2019

www.worldometers.info

approximately 56%

The latest statistic on this topic.

According to this, a question comes up: What type of applications are we talking about and how can they contribute to the reduction of GHGs (greenhouse gasses) emissions, rational energy utilization, proper waste management and climate change mitigation?

Additionally, only a few of these applications that encourage environmental awareness, responsible behaviour and positive impact on the environment, are explained.

Smart Traffic Management can regulate the flow of vehicles, reduce the traffic jam, transport time and GHG emissions. Traffic lights that use real-time data can help to equalize the traffic. Because they are able to detect vehicles only at crossroads, there is a whole smart traffic network with a couple of data sources. Sensors are placed in strategic places, so they can detect which vehicle from which direction, enters the traffic. Similarly, the green wave enables traffic light coordination for continuous traffic flow. According to the fact that most of the hazardous gasses emissions occur when the vehicle is being started, cleaner air and a healthier environment can be achieved by saving vehicles from frequent stopping. What’s more, the driver can reach the destination for a shorter period of time. Another example of Smart Traffic Management is distributing information about a free parking spot. Not only the driver will be more satisfied, but the environment will be thankful for eliminating unnecessary transportation time.

Smart Lighting Systems play a big role in energy management in the cities. Higher energy consumption leads to higher energy demand. Smart City should provide energy use only when necessary. These systems can be embedded with sensors that detect motion or adapt to external light, connect LED lights with wireless internet for more cooperative management and in combination with smart applications, to reduce the negative impact on the environment. Similar concepts are used as in Smart Home, but in the city management, the network is more widespread.

There are different Smart Waste Management Systems, created according to the infrastructure and capabilities of the city. The most commonly used principle is to upgrade the containers so that they alert when they are filled and need to be emptied. In addition to the fact that the waste won’t be scattered, also,  trucks won’t drive unnecessarily throughout the city which affects hazardous emissions. According to research from 2016, Barcelona is expected to save 4 billion dollars in 10 years, just from implementing Smart Waste Management System (source: https://www.cisco.com/ ).

This is just a small part of the Smart City contribution to a greener and cleaner environment. As it has already been said, network connectivity (pic. 1) and the internet enable data collection and city monitoring at any time, which can be used to track resource consumption, sea level and air pollution. All of that, in order to achieve real-time reaction and response to emergencies and analysis of the situation in creating strategies for environmental maintenance and sustainability.


Smart City components, supported by IoT

(source: https://smartwatermagazine.com/news/diehl-metering/smart-cities-and-industries-iot-solutions-diehl-metering)

Mila Velkovska

Graduated mechanical engineer, currently a postgraduate student at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering-Skopje, UKIM. Shows particular interest in research in the field of securing a green future, optimized processes and a better society for all, by linking technological development and digitalization tools with sustainable development, new environmental concepts and climate change.

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