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article imageDesigning smart cities without the need for infrastructure

By Tim Sandle     Feb 8, 2019 in Technology
IDTechEx, the emerging technology business intelligence firm, has produced a report about how smart cities can be developed without infrastructure.
There is considerable investment and interest in smart cities, not least because in excess of half of the global population lives in urban areas, based on United Nations figures. This figure is set to become almost 70 percent by 2050. To design smart cities with complex and interlinked infrastructure is a recipe for disaster, according to Peter Harrop, the chairman of IDTechEx.
There are varying models of smart cities, although a common theme includes the use of real-time data collection and analysis, standardizing information, and predictive analytics. The smart city will use such integrated information and communication
technology to support the economic, social, and environmental goals of the resident community and businesses. A useful vision of the smart city is set out in the Philadelphia SmartCityPHL Roadmap.
Can such a smart city operate without the need for infrastructure? Speaking with Scitech Europa, Harrop notes: "A large proportion of the cost, disruption, pollution and exposure to natural disasters in a city would be eliminated if there were no infrastructure."
The IDTechEx report “Smart City Opportunities: Infrastructure, Systems, Materials 2019-2029” details the independence of food, power and water for cities. This idea extends to buildings within the cities, focusing on ways by which the planned city can produce hundreds of megawatts itself.
In terms of this future state, Harrop states: "We have seen a beginning of independence with houses ceasing to require telephone wires because mobile phones are used. However, a city where buildings are fully independent seems like a pipe dream. Until now." The vision he shares is of cities achieving independence in water, food and energy. Furthermore, retailing and transport can be reinvented and no emissions or traffic congestion.
Outlining his smart city concept, Harrop discusses: "The smart materials and robotics approach to smart cities is far more powerful than the initial IT and sensor centric approach and it is cracking the problem.” In terms of addressing energy needs, Harrop describs how fit-and-forget clean supercapacitors will provide sufficient power in the near future.
Some of these concepts will be discussed at the IDTechEx Show!, which runs between April 10-11, 2019. The event, which takes place in Berlin, is set to bring together key disruptive technologies and their customers. The technologies featured include electric vehicles; energy storage industries; healthcare applications, from wearables to biosensors; and manufacturing innovations.
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