Smart Cities Development History

Smart Cities’ journey is a long story that begins in a mid-4th millennium BC in Uruk, that’s the first city in recorded history. Uruk was an ancient city in the Sumer generation, later in the Babylonia emporium, and it also was one of the most important cities in ancient Mesopotamia.

The Uruk city was situated in the southern region of Sumer (modern-day Warka, Iraq), to the northeast of the Euphrates river. Since that, people started to centralize and begin the long way of the world-wide urbanization infrastructure.

Smart Cities Development Stages

  1. 1989+ Experimental age of Smart Cities.
  2. 2014+ Modern age of Smart Cities
  3. 2021+ Innovation trends and Prediction of Smart Cities.

1. Experimental age of Smart Cities

The ages of starting the digitalization of infrastructure and testing various telecommunication and internet network-based technologies for managing infrastructure queues, controlling environment behavior, and increasing citizens’ comfort and the overall quality of city life.

1989, Copenhagen, Denmark

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History - CopenhagenWith the deployment of intelligent solutions in their city for the past 30 years, Copenhagen is quickly becoming a leader in smart city technology, enriching citizen experiences and improving operational efficiencies. Electronic government (or e-Government) is the application of Information and Communication Technologies to government functions and procedures to increase efficiency, transparency, and citizen participation.

Municipalities have a unique direct interaction with citizens. The relationship between municipalities and their citizens is unavoidable: business registrations, auto registry, real state development, or even the subscription of a child in a school, for instance – all require citizens to come in contact with the municipality. The local e-Government objective is to create a new dynamic relationship between governments and citizens: a cycle that will become simpler and more participative for citizens. To achieve this, it is important to introduce technology in the conventional tasks of the municipality and public sector management, with public citizens and their needs being the focal point of this innovation. Copenhagen Base is a public database with crowdsourcing options for useful local information accessible via the Internet and via text-TV.

The appropriate application of national e-Government allows for higher levels of effectiveness and efficiency in governmental tasks, improvement of processes and procedures, increases the quality of public services, also improves the use of information in the decision-making processes, and allows for better communication among different governmental offices.

City infrastructure digitization improves citizen experiences, expands e-Parking services, and reduces carbon emission, making Copenhagen the place where new businesses want to invest and where new residents want to move. This enables more intelligent use of the city’s existing resources and improves how they deliver services to the growing number of citizens, commuters, and tourists who use the city. This creates a massive attraction for new business investments and entrepreneurs. Related to this is also the development in the field of guides for entrepreneurship.

Key Activities: local e-Government services, national e-Government services, city guide, e-Parking services, guides for entrepreneurship

1989, Geneva, Switzerland

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History - GenevaThe Smart City concept is still evolving, and there is not yet a commonly accepted worldwide definition. Still, it is pretty clear that Smart Cities leverage information and communication technologies to enhance service levels, citizen well-being, sustainability, and economic development. Expanding the Smart City concept is improving the existing infrastructures, increases the digitalization and integration of facilities and services, gives access to public information and public and tourist service guides, expands the use of collaboration tools and automated service management platforms, increases the safety of citizens and transportation, making cities more attractive for stakeholders, and living up to citizens’ expectations for job opportunities.

The city of Geneva can be classified into category smart cities where fiber-optic backbones were installed in the city and enabled the interconnection of households and local enterprises to ultra-high-speed networks. There is a full range of wired and wireless broadband services. Geneva MAN was a pilot project that was envisioned in 1998 and installed in Geneva city in 2003. It interconnected with 100MBps a small urban area, it was free-of-charge and offered VoIP and TV services. However, only 50 percent of the end-users agreed to connect to this network, although the legal framework obliged SIG not to charge citizens, but only businesses. On the other hand, locally founded enterprises expressed their interest in this network, they connected their facilities and a business-broadband sub-network has been successfully installed.

Key Activities: Wired and Wireless Broadband Services, Public Information and public service guides, Tourist Guides, Job Opportunities

1994, Craigmillar, …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History - CraigmillarBased on the Knowledge Bases approach and development of the Craigmillar Community Information Service, Craigmillar (Edinburgh, Scotland) was classified as a smart city. The case of an ex-industrial area capitalized the Information and communications technology to structure groups of citizens who shared knowledge and local online news also collaborated to deal with unemployment, job opportunities in the city, and other local needs.

Key Activities: self-recycling services, local online news, job opportunities in the city, a marketplace for cars and property

1995, Antwerp, …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History - AntverpAntwerp is the second largest port in Europe and the 5th largest worldwide. It, therefore, plays an important economic role not just in Europe but on an international scale, is the economic hub of Belgium, and this is without even mentioning its status as the global diamond trade hub. In many ways, the economically secure yet creative Antwerp is the perfect breeding ground for smart city development. Antwerp has focused intensely on making the city smarter in the last few years, devising technological solutions to societal challenges such as safety, unemployment, sustainability, and mobility, a various e-booking services as e-counter or e-booking property database.

Antwerp can be classified in category smart cities where fiber-optic backbones were installed in the city and enabled the interconnection of households and local enterprises to ultra-high-speed networks. The last mile connection to the backbone was established with fiber optic channels Fiber-to-the-Home, composing a flourishing environment for telecommunication vendors and private investments in general. Antwerp and Amsterdam collaborated and interconnected their broadband networks. Importantly, the city understands the importance of trying and testing projects and assessing their actual impact on citizens’ lives, demonstrating in environmental information before fully investing in them; information about this is well presented in the developments of guides for entrepreneurs. This is the reasoning behind their recent ‘City of Things’ project, involving a living lab being implemented in the city center to test smart solutions in a real-life urban environment. The city is also heavily branding itself as a smart city of the future.

Key Activities: e-Government services (e-Counter), Online Tourist Guide, e-Booking Property Database, environmental information, and guides for entrepreneurs

1995, Helsinki, …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History - Craigmillar - HelsinkiIt’s preferable to see Smart Cities in this approach, with the use of technologies facilitating the interaction between different utilities, infrastructures, services, and systems, with the primary purpose of supporting the sustainable use of resources and increasing city administration efficiency, benefiting inhabitants, governance, and economic growth. The City of Helsinki map service is a map portal that can be used to access the map and geographic information datasets of several departments. Thanks to our modern always-on digital lifestyle, people expect to be constantly connected.

Public Wi-Fi access points are expanding to a global network of hotspots to meet those needs. A hotspot is a physical location where people can access the Internet, typically using Wi-Fi, via a wireless local area network (WLAN) with a router connected to an Internet service provider. Most people refer to these locations as “Wi-Fi hotspots” or “Wi-Fi connections.” Simply put, hotspots are the physical places where users can wirelessly connect their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to the Internet. A hotspot can be in a private location or a public one, such as in a coffee shop, a hotel, an airport, or even an airplane.

While many public hotspots offer free wireless access on an open network, others require payment. Hotspots are becoming an essential part of public infrastructure—and our Internet experience. The Department of Social Services and Health Care gives the possibility to utilize the electronic health services by e-health cards and apply for supplementary and preventive social assistance electronically. From the national My Kanta service, it’s possible to find the information about your e-prescriptions, read the doctors’ and nurses’ case statements, and ask for renewal of e-prescriptions.

Key Activities: Regional map service, WLAN hot spots, e-health cards

1996, Kyoto, Japan

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History - KyotoA geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface. GIS can show many different kinds of data on one map, such as streets, buildings, and vegetation. This enables people to more easily see, analyze, and understand patterns and relationships.

Crowdsourcing involves obtaining work, information, or opinions from a large group of people who submit their data via the Internet, social media, and smartphone apps. With today’s crowdsourcing, technology plays a key role as it makes it possible to enlist an even larger number of non-technical people to do more complex and creative tasks at a significantly lower cost. Superior quality of content is achieved because of the involvement of a large crowd for ideas, skills, and participation. In terms of information, it will be most comprehensive. In terms of design, it will be the most conceptualized. In terms of micro-tasks, it will be the most detailed. Crowdsourcing allows you to select the best result not from a single provider but from a sea of talents. Results can also be delivered much quicker than traditional or conventional methods since it is a form of freelancing. One famous example of crowdsourcing is Wikipedia as some sort of an online encyclopedia.

Key Activities: GIS information about the city, city guide, municipal transportation, crowdsourcing, 3D Virtual Tour.

1997, Seoul, South Korea…

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History SeoulMore than anything else, the voluntary participation of Seoul citizens and the combination of new attempts and creative challenges utilizing cutting-edge technologies by the public and private sectors are making Seoul’s own smart city differentiate itself from other cities. The Digital Mayor’s Office is a smart city digital platform where it’s possible to see the status of the entire city at a glance in real-time. It is one of the indispensable practices that the world’s mayors and delegations learn when they visit Seoul. The dynamics of this city and the participation of citizens are the factors that make a city smart. The Seoul smart city is the product of humanity’s agony and introspection on making life happier and fuller, and the output of both the city and the citizens by actively implementing and using state-of-the-art technologies. Moreover, a smart city has become the most useful method to enhance the quality of life of citizens and an efficient tool to resolve global urban challenges.

Digital mobile television refers to television broadcasting over handheld or mobile devices. This new type of broadcasting is changing the market for television programming in many ways. One of the most significant aspects of mobile television is the provision of television broadcasts through smartphones. With smartphone adoption experiencing exponential growth, broadcasters use systems like third-party pay-for-performance services and Internet portals to deliver television broadcasts directly through these portable devices. Other kinds of mobile television are also being introduced to this broad consumer environment. Mobile television is evolving from the traditional broadcast medium in the same way that cable television evolved from traditional network television. The difference is that the venues for broadcasts are being fragmented into different types of wireless networking setups.

Key Activities: Wired and Wireless broadband internet services, digital mobile TV (SG8)

1997, Amsterdam,

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History - AmsterdamUrban public spaces are needed to sustain the productivity of cities, their social cohesion and inclusion, their civic identity, and their quality of life. Public and green spaces play a vital role in the promotion of cities’ sustainability and citizens’ well-being, namely, in the connection between humans and nature and also in the multiple benefits to human and environmental health. Sustainability in public space design is a concept that is much broader than conserving energy and improving indoor air quality through the use of non-toxic materials. A well-rounded sustainability strategy also includes protecting the land through architectural design, rather than working against it.

Key Activities: Energy management, smart building, telepresence conference centers, grid energy solutions, sustainable public spaces, sustainable working.

1997, AOL global digitalization projects

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History aolDigital cities are being developed all over the world. Digital cities integrate urban information (both achievable and real-time ) and create public spaces for people living in the cities. From 1994, more than 100 European local organizations started to discuss digital cities. As a platform for community networks, information spaces using the city metaphor are being developed worldwide.

America Online (AOL) was founded in 1985 and their Internet service has more than 17 million members. AOL provides locally-focused online network services for 65 cities and the number is growing. Each AOL digital city collects tourist and shopping information of the corresponding city. Besides those information services, AOL provides local advertising opportunities for vertical markets including auto, real estate, employment, and health. The AOL digital city is the largest and most popular local information service in the US. The success of AOL digital cities shows that people need regional information services for their everyday life.

Key Activities: Online city guides, information from local enterprises,

1998, Global Knowledge-based cities projects

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History global knowledgeThe smart and sustainable cities concept has become a globally hot topic during the last few decades, particularly following the catastrophic impacts of global climate change. The assessment of smart and sustainable cities, however, is a major challenge due to the complex, complicated, and chaotic nature of our cities. This makes the available monitoring and evaluation tools difficult to adopt and apply in different urban contexts to support urban planning and governance and foster evidence-based policymaking. In order to address this issue, the paper brings together knowledge-based development concepts with smart and sustainable cities. Knowledge-based development is a vision of development that considers knowledge as the central structuring element of a development strategy. A city-based upon knowledge and structure taking into account knowledge management to increase the value of the services offered by the city to citizens.

Key Activities: Broadband and telecommunications services, online city guides, public information, Knowledge-based cities media support.

1999, Smart Dubai, United Arabian Emirates

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History dubai councilSmart Dubai aims to introduce strategic initiatives and develop partnerships to contribute to its Smart Economy, Smart Living, Smart Governance, Smart Environment, Smart People, and Smart Mobility dimensions. Smart Dubai builds on a legacy of innovative programs developed by the Dubai government to drive global competitiveness to achieve its strategic pillars. Early examples include the launch of Dubai eGovernment in 1999 when global internet penetration was less than 5% of establishing the first excellence program of its kind in the world.

The Dubai Government Excellence Program in 1997 is a testament to prioritizing service excellence. For this goal of collaborating with the private sector and government partners, Smart Dubai was established to empower, deliver and promote an efficient, seamless, safe, and impactful city experience for residents and visitors. Electric car charging stations, Smart Parking, and even live traffic updates are provided that would help people plan their journey even before they step out of their homes.

Dubai Blockchain Strategy – A collaboration of Smart Dubai Office and Dubai Future Foundation, the Dubai Blockchain Strategy aims to explore technology innovations that would help in providing more efficient and impactful city experiences. The initiative has three strategic pillars, namely Government Efficiency, Industry Creation, and International Leadership. With the pre-approved passport, security clearance, visas, and more effortless mobility within the city due to approved driver’s licenses and car rental, Dubai aspires to be the easiest and safest hub for global passengers.

Key Activities: Media services, e-Education, e-Commerce, Develops business services

2000, Cape Town, …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History cape townIntelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is a combination of leading-edge information and communication technologies used in transportation and traffic management systems to improve the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of transportation networks, reduce traffic congestion and enhance drivers’ experiences. ITS improves transportation mobility and enhances productivity through the integration of advanced communications technologies into the transportation infrastructure and in vehicles.

Key Activities: Environmental services, tourist guides, intelligent transportation

2000, Hull (U.K.), …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History hullA geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface. GIS can show many different kinds of data on one map, such as streets, buildings, and vegetation. This enables people to more easily see, analyze, and understand patterns and relationships. Compared to traditional table maps, a GIS map is dynamic and interactive. It can reveal previously unseen features by highlighting them and show changes of these features over time, based on the given attributes.
Key Activities: e-Government information and e-Services, GIS maps

2000, Barcelona, Spain

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History barcelonaSince the Catalan Law on Transparency, Access to Public Information, and Good Governance was passed towards the end of 2014, citizens have had the right to know and request public information. Barcelona City Council has a repository of open data, the Open Data BCN portal, that now includes more than 450 data sets on the population, health, economy and education, among many others, which can be found in formats that can be reused and downloaded. The fact that citizens have access to open data is a form of empowerment. Anyone can actively find out more about any piece of data in order to decide what personal or professional decisions they want to make and how to go about it. The city’s challenges have requested social collaboration in solving them, by means of approaching data as a common asset.

Key Activities: e-Government services, mobile services, online city guide, guides for entrepreneurs, Intelligent transportation, open data from the city council.

2001, Blacksburg, …

A geographic information system (GIS) is a system that creates, manages, analyzes, and maps all types of data. GIS connects data to a map, integrating location data (where things are) with all types of descriptive information (what things are like there). This provides a foundation for mapping and analysis that is used in science and almost every industry. GIS helps users understand patterns, relationships, and geographic context. The benefits include improved communication and efficiency as well as better management and decision making.”

Key Activities: GIS services, crowdsourcing, MAN, 3D Virtual city model with crowdsourcing options, broadband services, online guides, and training for entrepreneurs

2002, Stockholm, …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History stockholmThe definition of telecare has changed over time as new technology has shaped the face of modern telemedicine. The basic definition of telecare is “care offered to patients remotely via telecommunications technology, either through synchronous (live video) or asynchronous means (store-and-forward, remote patient monitoring).” Telecare is often used to expand patient access to care, help patients manage recovery and well-being at home, and remotely monitor risks or early warning signs of health conditions. The care could be handled through a range of technology – from telephones to online virtual visits to remote patient monitoring centers. One growing example is the use of remote monitoring centers to provide assistance to the elderly, monitoring for any warning signs of falls or unusual behavior patterns that might be a red flag for needed intervention.

Key Activities: Telecare services, intelligent transportation, wireless broadband services

2003, Trikala, …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History trikalaThe definition of telecare has changed over time as new technology has shaped the face of modern telemedicine. The basic definition of telecare is “care offered to patients remotely via telecommunications technology, either through synchronous (live video) or asynchronous means (store-and-forward, remote patient monitoring).” Telecare is often used to expand patient access to care, help patients manage recovery and well-being at home, and remotely monitor risks or early warning signs of health conditions. The care could be handled through a range of technology – from telephones to online virtual visits to remote patient monitoring centers. One growing example is the use of remote monitoring centers to provide assistance to the elderly, monitoring for any warning signs of falls or unusual behavior patterns that might be a red flag for needed intervention.

Key Activities: Telecare services, intelligent transportation, wireless broadband services

2004, Brisbain, Australia

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History brisbainAustralian Government business portal as a whole-of-government website provides essential information on planning, starting, and growing your business. Via national portal works e-Procurement services. E-procurement is the process of buying and selling supplies and services over the Internet. It differs from e-commerce because it uses a supplier’s closed system, typically available only to registered users. When appropriately implemented, e-procurement opens the lines of communication between a company and a supplier by creating a direct link and facilitating interactions such as bids, purchase orders, and emails. E-procurement services solutions are specifically tailored for buyers, sellers, distributors, and business supply chain management to increase efficiency, reduce costs, gain visibility and control and scale their business to any level at an affordable price.

In recent years, the PARK(ing) Day helps challenge how citizens think about urban spaces, aiming to encourage people to reduce car dependency and instead consider public and active travel modes. This aligns with Council’s Transport Plan for Brisbane – Strategic Directions, which recognizes the need for motorists to reduce reliance on private vehicle travel to improve Brisbane’s sustainability, improve e-parking, environment, air quality, and liveability.

Key Activities: e-Parking, e-Government services, mobile services, e-Procurement services via the national portal, virtual communities

2004, Taipei,…

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History taipeiTo pursue the long-term goal of becoming one of the most leading smart cities globally, a smart city wheel and its 62 indicators are used to help New Taipei City be smarter. The Wheel constitutes six categories: smart government, smart mobility, smart economy, smart environment, smart living, and smart people. New Taipei City is proud of its valuable practices in urban sustainability, one-step solution service, and citizen participation. Through the use of big data analysis, service integration, the various real-time Apps, and other applications.

To build up a smart government, the government integrated all public services into a one-step solution to offer its citizens related public service online wherever they are. The excellent use of an ICF-based security system that monitors traffic on the streets not only helps citizens to get the real-time traffic situation on roads but also offers alternative ways to avoid traffic jams. To lead the environment smarter, the smart illumination of LED street lights has been used, and the cost-saving on electronic bills makes the project penniless. The diverse levels and themes for various topics can suit the needs of book lovers. Also, a 24-hour library with a smart way of electronic management system severs citizens to borrow or return books at any time. More technology use in the real classroom is under construction.

Key Activities: intelligent transportation, e-parking, 3D website for virtual tours, public e-Services, e-Future classroom

2004, New York

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History new yorkGeotechnologies and geospatial analysis are used to solve problems and improve conditions, using New York City as a “living laboratory.” Geographic Information Science (GISc) is a fast-growing computer technology field involving the mapping and analyzing spatial data. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enable the assessment of and managing existing conditions and help predict future conditions, ranging from monitoring disease occurrences to endangered species preservation, managing water supplies, tracking real estate values, and crime-solving. GISc is especially valuable in policy- and decision-making and has become an indispensable component of most planning activities. GISc is used today in fields like criminal justice, marketing, economic development, public health administration, environmental assessment, risk analysis, ecology, urban planning, emergency management, real estate, government, and education.About Smart Cities - Blogs - History dongtan

Key Activities: Wireless broadband services, e-Government portal, GIS city information

2005, Dongtan,…

With the rapid urbanization in China, the country faces significant challenges in sustainable urban development and actively explores novel ways to expand urban areas while conserving natural resources. Radical changes in city planning are being made to switch to sustainable development, with new cities being designed to be ecologically friendly guided by principles like carbon neutrality and selfsufficiency. If this vision of a sustainable city is successfully realized, Dongtan will serve as a model for developing similar cities across China and the rest of the developing world. Dongtan eco-city’s planning and preliminary development have generated significant enthusiasm for green buildings and influenced plans for other sustainable urban development projects in China. An eco-city aims to achieve sustainable development within the carrying capacity of local ecosystems through changing the production mode, consumption behavior, and decision instruments based on ecological economics and systems engineering.
Smart grid is a primary focus for society due to the increasing energy consumption. Many existing smart grid solutions have been discussed as electricity grids worldwide remain outdated and inefficient. The study on the smart grid with the theory of the business ecosystem may open opportunities to understanding market catalysts. Smart grid infrastructure is an intricate business ecosystem with several intentions to deliver the value proposition and what it should be.

Key Activities: Eco services like smart grids, energy/water/waste smart management, green buildings

2007, Malta, …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History maltaHere in Malta, IBM is building the world’s first smart grid to govern electricity and water. It will also make environmental measures easier to promote through pricing options that reward conservation and solar energy; solar panels are a viable alternative on these sunstruck islands. Malta’s political and geographical circumstances make it a uniquely challenging place to institute new water and energy policies. Unlike Singapore or China, where a word from the top decides all matters, the Maltese have a vibrant democracy, one where issues are debated in public and decided on election day, often by razor-thin margins. That’s where the smart grid will help. With the vast amounts of data it generates, government officials, the utilities, and citizens will be able to make more informed decisions.

A smart grid is an electricity network enabling a two-way flow of electricity and data with digital communications technology to detect, react and pro-act to changes in usage and multiple issues. Smart grids have self-healing capabilities and enable electricity customers to become active participants. Smart grids leverage more technologies but aren’t just about IT nor even technologies. An electrical grid or electric grid is a network to deliver electricity from the producer(s) and places where it’s generated and transformed (power plants and substations) to the final destinations where electricity is ‘consumed’: households, businesses, various facilities, and the consumer in general.

Key Activities: Smart grids

2007 Tianjin

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History tianjinFollowing earlier cooperation between China and Singapore on the Suzhou Industrial Park in China while benefiting from Singapore’s extensive knowledge and experience in areas such as integrated urban planning and water resource management, was envisioned as economically sustainable, socially harmonious, environmentally friendly, and resource-conserving city of Tianjin. According to the master plan, Tianjin Eco-City promotes integrating land use and urban transport and balancing employment and housing supply. The project of Tianjin Eco-City encourages the use of clean/renewable energy and reuse/recycle of resources through innovative technologies and environmentally friendly policies and investments across various sectors, including water, energy, land, and transport, among others.

Tianjin Eco-city tests ways to turn it waste-free. His operations center has been a one-stop command post to centrally monitor all public utility infrastructure and direct all municipal services and emergency management. The center crunches city-wide data on transport, energy, environment, as well as information from the municipal authorities to derive patterns and preventive modeling used to improve the quality and efficiency of city management. For instance, it uses a combination of Geographic Information System (GIS), drone scanning, and robot surveillance data to identify areas of water leakage in its pipe network. During the trial period, it was test-bed advanced waste management technologies like on-site plastics recycling and organic waste recycling.

Key Activities: Eco services like smart grids, energy, water and waste smart management, green buildings

2008, Masdar

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History masdarMany global cities are fast developing into resource-starved ecosystems, inefficient, unmanageable, and unsustainable, owing to rising population and industrialization, adversely affecting the economic growth and quality of life, health, and well-being of the communities inhabiting these cities. Abu Dhabi, one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates, launched The Masdar City, which is unique and unconventional in many ways. It embraced information and communication technologies (ICT), more visibly Internet of Things (IoT), for a better quality of life and performance of services, for an ecologically-balanced integrated urban development, thereby becoming a Smart City.

The city being in the middle of a desert posed the most formidable challenge because of the extremely hot climatic conditions for most of the year. A two-fold Energy Management approach was conceptualized for Masdar City: Reduced energy consumption by using globally proven energy-efficient techniques – natural light, insulation, window-glazing, low-energy specifications for lighting, smart building systems, and appliances. And as efficient energy generation using novel techniques – innovatively redesigned Photovoltaic panels for solar energy.

The entire water used in the city is desalinated and made suitable for drinking purposes using solar energy. As the availability of adequate water remains an inherent challenge when it comes to initiating any construction activity in desert areas, the city reuses the desalinated water for many other purposes. Wastewater treatment is done using a Membrane Bioreactor process that uses a suspended sludge system of microporous membranes that separates the solids from the liquid in the combined grey and black water mix. The treated effluent finds use in landscaping and bio-solids in irrigation and composting.

For waste management, vacuum technologies are used to eliminate the need for landfills. Waste is accordingly segregated before collection and disposal. While part of the city’s waste is recycled, in other cases, an electricity-generating process incinerates the waste, leading to the release of much less carbon dioxide than landfills. Bio-waste is composted, and the end-product is used to improve farms located in the city’s outskirts. Recyclable waste is, reused and the remaining waste is utilized in a waste-to-energy plant.

Key Activities: Renewable resources and smart energy management

2008, Osaka, Japan

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History osakaOsaka has prospered as a gateway from other countries with foreign trades and diplomatic relations since ancient times. With the opportunity to hold global events, the city wants to contribute to developing its progress towards building a smart city. The city is trying to tackle a range of social issues, such as challenges associated with changes in demographic structure (declining birthrate/working-age population and increasing aging population), revitalization of urban infrastructure. Severe weather events are also becoming more apparent, further compounding problems.

This concept aims to address these urban issues. Osaka’s first program will focus on areas such as smart life and construction, travel and experiences, public information, urban mobility, cleantech, hospitality, and health.

Key Activities: Tourist guides, public information, guides for entrepreneurs

2008, New Songdo

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History new songdoTechnically, Songdo is considered an extension of Incheon, a large international transportation hub that allows the city to be easily accessible by foreign and domestic travelers. It was essentially a utopia that offered everything that Seoul didn’t and was positioned as a new global economic center, with the right talent and business that would allow it to compete with other Asian markets.

There’s no doubt that Songdo is revolutionary and is by far the most technologically integrated city in the world. But what it forgets in its vision for the city of the future is that cities are designed for people, not for fancy AI features and sensors. What the designers and planners of Songdo should have done was design around the perspective and needs of a human being first with technology acting as the supplement, instead of designing for technology, with humans being just in the peripheral. It’s easy to automate many processes and collect infinite amounts of data- but is it necessary to ensure that a city is performing? Are all aspects of urban performance quantifiable, or can it be described through less tangential measurements like the overall happiness of its residents? Songdo is proof that high-tech cities don’t always equate to high-impact communities.

Here is how Songdo represents a radically new concept of the city: designed with extreme efficiency, totally artificial, apparently without poverty or degradation. The Songdo project is a revolutionary one in the smart cities’ scenario, in its peculiar attempt at realizing “the city of the future”.

Suppose smart cities are conceptually devised with the only focus of implementing cutting-edge technology for more efficient services. In that case, there is the risk of creating an environment prone to the alienation of citizens. Hence, a pivotal aspect to consider is the necessity of preventative and thorough ethical assessment to be carried out when developing smart city projects. A plausible path forward may then be giving precedence to human-centered design in any smart city project. In fact, by emphasizing the human factor, there would be greater chances of containing the excessive intrusiveness of technological surveillance, a-moral automation, and techno-control.

Key Activities: Intelligent buildings, New Songdo, ubiquitous computing, local information

2009, Seoul Upgrade

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History songdo upgradeBeyond its dominant status as the best global e-government globally for seven consecutive years, Seoul is now leaping forward as a leading smart city in the world based on big data and new technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Seoul has never let go of its number one position in the performance of municipal e-government. Seoul is a state-of-the-art city that boasts the world’s best information and communication network where people can enjoy free high-speed Wi-Fi even in moving buses and subway trains. It also has the highest retention rate of smartphone users on the globe.

Based on these strengths, Seoul is now writing a new chapter in smart cities’ history in various areas closely linked with the lives of its citizens, such as in transportation, economy, and the environment. Among them, the area in great demand and with the biggest ripple effects on the citizens is transportation. Seoul has significantly enhanced the convenience of public transportation through “Seoul’s Intelligent Traffic System” (ITS), Smart Transportation Card, and Bus Information System (BIS).

Key Activities:

2010, Manhattan, …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History manhattanThe Manhattan Harbour Project in tiny Dayton, Kentucky, is set to transform this river city. Manhattan Harbour’s concept began in the mid-2000s. Manhattan Harbour, a residential community envisioned along the Ohio River in Dayton, is spearheading this ambitious project, including 2,000 residential units (in a city currently home to 6,000), 30 to 40 small restaurants, a marina, walking trails, a concert area, and office space. The picturesque private river walk follows a peaceful stretch of the Ohio River, which has gathering spots — both small and large — to entice people to come together and enjoy the views. The swimming pool and dog run are also popular places where residents gather. Wide hallways in the apartment buildings encourage casual visits between neighbors, and the apartments have 280cm ceilings and open floorplans, making the spaces feel welcoming. About 35 percent of the 140-acre development would be green space. The plan has already attracted the attention of a South Korean tech firm that wants to use smart technology. Near the Manhattan, Harbour development is 11 miles of new walking trails, dining, shopping, and boating.

Key Activities: Intelligent Buildings, Ubiquitous computing

2011, Amsterdam

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History amsterdam upgradeAmsterdam’s development as a smart city contributes to ambitious climate goals through technology-enabled sustainable solutions and changing behavior. A multinational company providing consulting and professional services has been instrumental to the city of Amsterdam in new concept development, prioritizing of initiatives, coordination of multiple partiers, and project initiations. A few examples from which install shore power connections for ships (ship to the grid) in Amsterdam harbor to allow green energy to replace polluting diesel generators onboard. Or minimize energy use without negatively impacting the functional and living comforts provided by the building to employees (ITO Tower/ ITO-toren). There are sensors that can register energy use and ensure lighting, heating, cooling are operated as much energy efficiency as possible. Or test smart technologies in 500 households to increase awareness of energy use (West Orange program).

Key Activities: Accelerating of climate/energy programs. Driven by smart technology and the need to bring about behavioral change

2014, India, …

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History indiaRecently, the Indian cabinet green-lit a £10 billion scheme that will be divided equally between building 100 smart cities and rejuvenating another 500 cities and towns over the next five years. The emergence of hi-tech prototype cities raises concerns that India’s new urban enclaves will override local laws and use surveillance to keep out the poor. In a country where more than 300 million people live without electricity and twice as many don’t have access to toilets, such projects as Gift City’s towers sound like hypertrophic castles in the sky. But they are an essential part of the Indian government’s urban vision, one that it wants to see replicated a hundred times across the country. In their present form, smart cities are essentially rechristened Special Economic Zones (SEZs); neo-liberal business-friendly zones are exempt from taxes, duties, and stringent labor laws.

Yet, no one is quite sure of what these cities might look like or who they’re for. Because smart cities would have clean water, assured power supply, efficient public transport, and would not be polluted or congested. They will have the smart (intelligent) physical, social, institutional, and economic infrastructure, guaranteeing their residents employment opportunities and a very high quality of life, comparable with any developed European city. This repeated emphasis on high-end infrastructure and superlative quality of life hints at a discomfiting answer to the second question: who the intended inhabitants of smart cities are likely to be. As such smart cities will be “more fortresses than places of heterogeneous humanity because they are meant only for specific classes of people”. One class to be served, the other to be surveilled and contained. Ведь так как when investing so much without thinking about services and low-cost housing and governance, then it will lead to creating enclaves that keep out the poor.

Is India’s 100 smart cities project a recipe for social apartheid?
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2014, USA Committee

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History usa committeeEquitable City is committed to inclusive, fair, and just planning, policy development, and a community outreach and engagement process that centers and prioritizes lived experiences and evidence-based solutions to create and sustain safe, healthy, and livable communities. The goal of an equitable city is to reconnect communities suffering from disinvestment through transportation planning and research that focuses on the way the community experiences their streets.

The digitalization of healthcare has been evolving for many years globally, and especially in the USA – from telemedicine and remote patient engagement to new digital approaches for diagnostics and information exchange. Like the technologies themselves, the term virtual healthcare – or digital health – is continually evolving to encompass new approaches and digital developments. While there are no officially agreed definitions, the terms virtual-, tele-, digital- and e-healthcare all tend to have a broad scope that includes technologies for remote patient communication, education, diagnosis, and monitoring. In addition, digital technologies and software for HCP-to-HCP information exchange and administrative/operational functions are also included under this umbrella. The ability of HCPs to communicate with patients in a digital manner is not itself groundbreaking. However, healthcare managers’ shift in mindset and decisions to push these technologies for live video calling, audio, and instant messaging have opened patients’ eyes to the benefits and possibilities that remote healthcare offers. The inherent cost-savings and increases in efficiency then also benefit HCPs. Connected-health devices and remote patient monitoring (RPM) technologies enable HCPs to monitor patients, and so the opportunity to automatically report on a patient’s health as they go about their day-to-day lives is hugely beneficial to both parties. It can provide health measures for patients and help facilitate healthcare decisions from afar.

Key Activities: Equitable City, Integrated Energy Research for the future, Transforming healthcare through hospital and clinic digitization and telemedicine

2017, Hamburg, Germany

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History hamburgEconomically and culturally, Hamburg is one of Europe’s most liveable and economically strongest cities. Therefore, Hamburg is undertaking significant efforts to put its Smart City approach into reality by using smart technologies and implementing numerous interdisciplinary pilot projects. And Hamburg is still facing a growth trend; especially younger people are attracted by the city’s dynamic economy and many jobs by various educational institutions and extensive leisure facilities and cultural opportunities. The current town planning aims to find spaces within the existing areas and open up new development opportunities. The city wants to create additional, high-quality urban spaces by the water, offering homes, jobs, leisure, and recreation.

Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz envisages cities in the future as wider, bigger, smarter, and with more opportunities and encourages 21st-century citizens to embrac[e] progress and strive for the implementation of a modern city. As part of this, Hamburg’s smartPORT aims to optimize infrastructure and traffic management systems, improving safety and environment conditions with the help of hardware megacorp Cisco. Sensors and cameras make up the IoT nodes of the network. Hamburg officials consider Stadrad Hamburg to be the most successful digitally enabled bike-sharing project in Germany. Potentially allaying privacy concerns in the face of mass continual data harvesting necessary for any smart city project, a politician is supposed that only those technologies will be established which are accepted in daily lives.

According to the senator of Economic Affairs, Transport and Innovation in Hamburg, Frank Horch, the opportunities presented through the networking of people, processes, data, and things will not only drive progress in the cities and municipalities but also offer citizens greater convenience and therefore a higher quality of life.

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2018, Dubai

About Smart Cities - Blogs - History dubai upgradeDubai is a regional, vibrant economic hub with strategically competitive sectors such as tourism, trade and logistics, real estate, retail, financial services, healthcare, and education. It is equipped with the world’s busiest airport, the world’s tallest building, and the 9th largest port in the world. The Smart Dubai initiative was launched in 2014 to focus the city’s unified effort towards its most valued asset — its people. The vision of Smart Dubai is: “To become the happiest city on earth.” Dubai also aims to become the smartest city in the world by harnessing digital innovation. It seeks to take its smart city transformation to a level such that digital transformation has a significant and positive impact on the city. Therefore, Smart Dubai strategically embraces technology innovation to make city experiences seamless, safe, personalized, and efficient, delivering an enhanced quality of life and ensuring sustainability. Numerous actual implementations, as well as proofs of concepts, have been undertaken as part of the Smart Dubai initiative, such as massive Internet of Things (IoT) systems, data analytics, blockchain, hyperloop projects, innovative 3D printing initiatives, autonomous vehicles, and drones trials, robotics, and artificial intelligence applications.

Smart Dubai launched in 2017 its 5-year smart city strategy Smart Dubai 2021, which encompasses six dimensions: living, governance, environment, economy, mobility, and people. The strategy also entails four cross-sectoral initiatives such as creating seamless city experiences and a paperless city, using shared and open data as a strategic asset to achieve city impact, creating internal government efficiency as a strategic competitive advantage and establishing a global and city-wide robust inclusive ecosystem accelerating Smart Dubai implementation. The Dubai Paperless Strategy addresses technology, legislation, and cultural issues to digitize 100 percent of government services by 2021, with no paper being used for any internal or external transactions, thus reaching a pinnacle in city digitization. The strategy entails redesigning all main city sectors, including mobility, energy, environment, society, education, health and public services, and related city experiences. Connected transport is just one of the benefits enjoyed by Dubai dwellers as part of this over-arching strategy.

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2019, …

Key Activities: Transportation 2.0, Appointment-based Traveling Project, 5G networks


Key Activities: Services virtualization, digital identity, integrated transportation systems.


Intellgent Desease prediction models, Predictive tourism analytics
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2022, …

Key Activities: Artificial Intelligence based urban movement,


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