How cities of the future will be smarter

It is predicted by the United Nations that the world’s population will be in the region of 9 billion by 2050, with 70% living in cities. This means that the infrastructure of cities will come under increasing pressure to provide services to meet the needs of residents and businesses – from transportation to the sewage systems. So governments, businesses and citizens need to think of ways to make our cities even smarter to live in. This means creating the conditions that will ensure that cities are sustainable, energy-efficient and more supportive of an optimal work/life balance.

Smarter infrastructure

In the cities of the future, buildings and communities will need to become more like the eco-systems that are found in nature, so that utilities, transport systems and sewage systems will work in cooperation with one another rather than on isolated or stand-alone levels, helping them become more sustainable and efficient. One way could be for buildings to have respiratory systems rather than heating and air conditioning systems, providing air free of carbon emissions and pollutants. The move towards smarter cities will be driven by the green agenda.

Energy on order

It is predicted that in the future, residents and businesses will be able to order energy on demand as well as the type of energy they require. This may be delivered by an internet-style system that has been already dubbed the “energy internet”. It will be a low-carbon distributing energy system, which services a whole community or city. Rather than just delivering one form of renewable energy it will be able to deliver all forms into homes and businesses.

Smarter utilities bills

Increasingly, new technology will make it possible for residents of houses and buildings to be able to see how much water, gas, electricity or other energy they are actually using at any given moment, and in relation to what other members of the community are typically using.  Meter reading will move into the 21st century allowing energy consumers to have a real-time view of usage, which will allow them to accurately analyse how much energy they are using, wasting and where. Some companies like British Gas are already beginning to provide the smart service. This can help not only to reduce bills but eventually also help to reduce carbon emissions in the fight against global warming.

Where we work and live

With our increasing reliance on mobile devices and internet connectivity, traditional workspaces like the office are becoming redundant. The need to physically go into work for meetings or to work on projects with others is becoming easier to do from home. This means the boundaries between work and home life are becoming blurred and that the homes of the future will be constructed as spaces for home life and work. This shift will also have a positive impact on the environment as fewer people commuting to work means less carbon emission, and these emissions won’t be replaced by more energy use in our homes as we’ll be living in carbon neutral homes.

Although the specific ways in which these visions of the future will unfold for UK cities are as yet unclear, there are some exciting prospects for residents and visitors alike in the years ahead.

City pics