Smart Cities, though not a term that has not reached proper consensus over its definition, is slowly becoming the buzz word around circles that seek to decide upon the future of the world in terms of the technological growth, economic growth, sustainability and cityscapes. But a Smart City to an extent is one that has conceived a holistic system to deal with every aspect of city functioning with efficiency while heading towards a goal of pure sustainable development. The way things are currently is not presenting a pretty picture to all – cities so polluted that suffocating to death is a possibility, and slums so overcrowded that basic cleanliness is lacking. With the ISO Standard, these cities can see what sort of additions and improvements should be injected so as to raise the standards to the archetypal “Smart City”
Patricia McCarney, President and CEO of the World Council on City Data (WCCD) and Director of the Global Cities Institute (GCI) at the University of Toronto, when asked about the definition of a “Smart City”, has cited the one conceived by the ISO Technical Management Board’s Strategic Advisory Group on Smart Cities, which explains that a Smart city increases the pace at which it improves social, economic and environmental sustainability outcomes, responding to challenges such as climate change, rapid population growth and political and economic instability by improving how it engages with society, how it applies collaborative leadership methods, how it works across disciplines and city systems, and how it uses data information and modern technologies in order to provide better services and quality of life to those in, and involved with, the city, now and for the foreseeable future, without unfair disadvantage to others or degradation of the natural environment..
Information and Communication Technology will play an enormous role in the development of such a city, as it is one that connects the citizens and the various departments operating in the city together. A term that has come up as an alternative to the ‘Smart City’ is the “digital city”, because the city will be embedded with technology that pervade into everyday objects and will help the citizens in both the public and private sectors to engage with each other in an easy way. The internet of Things will make it possible for inanimate objects to be embedded with technology which will facilitate communication with other devices through a shared network, all without any human intervention.
The United Nations Population’s Fund has proclaimed that by the year 2030, there would be about 5 billion people living in cities around the world. The increasing migration from the poor to the cities is a tremendous factor for the swell in population. The result will be a shift in the socio-political and economic as well as environmental change in the urban landscape that could potentially bring about large-scale unemployment, unsanitary living conditions and violent crime. Besides the potentially crippling influx, another aspect of the population that doesn’t get addressed to often is the ageing population – whose lives should be taken care of with dignity.
The Smart Cities Council was developed to help those cities, wishing transform themselves into a modern “smart city”. The Council consist of the foremost experts in smart city development and they give out timely advices, ideal methods and practices, on how to raise the right resources and the creation of policies. They are the arguably the leading authority in Smart Cities, having the most popular smart city website which serves as the best reference for all things related to Smart City. They hold conferences, forums and workshops as well as a designated Smart City Week. They are advised by independent authorities on climate change, academia and development banks.
The SSC has said that in order to develop a city that caters to everything and solve every problem – congestion, crime, pollution and income inequality – there is needs to be a fundamental shift in the way infrastructure is developed into a more integrated/ digital approach that can be assessed by means of a standard which has in its principles ideal archetypes which any individual city, despite location and prosperity, can aspire towards. A standard that rids the leaders of anxiety whether any change can be made or whether the changes will not amount to nothing.
Standards are not availed by a lot of the cities because they are often seen with suspicion or as a constraint, because they are sometimes made with high values that can only be applied to cities that are high in prosperity and economy. Standards have to be developed that is compatible to any city type and has relevant principles to the progressive world.
ISO Technical Committee has said that smart cities will be more efficient and effective when it has developed integrated and interconnected strategies that will be able to be monitored on a real-time basis, which will requires the ICT inventions that need to have a massive wealth of resources that cities might not be able to afford, and besides that this will amount to a tremendous data accumulation that in the wrong hands can cause chaos. Therefore, “Smart” part of the smart cities should be not be the final result, but rather sustainable development should be the primary target, the former just being a means by which the latter can be achieved.
For all urban planners, the ISO/TC 268 has undertaken the drafting of ISO 37101 – sustainable development of communities. Though this ISO Standard is not directly related to the “Smart Cities” concept, it will, by logical extension, bring forward a holistic smart city. Apart from the clauses of this ISO Standard, the organisation will have a greater role to play in fostering harmonization and clarification, and publishing documents that reflect international consensus and become globally relevant.
The growing number of standards and documents that are used for references makes the ISO an organisation for facilitating the exchange of expertise and best practices, stimulate innovations and help cities procure more cost-effective and reliable systems that meet their genuine needs. The growth of Smart cities will be a very palpable phenomenon in the next few years, and it is certain that many of them will jump in on the band wagon, and this is why the ISO Standard will be a great tool for all emerging cities of disparate nature.