Thanks to the development of new technologies and services offered in telecommunications, cities have features that help and improve the quality of life of their inhabitants. In order to consider a city as a smart city, it must fulfil some of requirements, especially those related to sustainable development.

It is estimated that by 2050, more than half of the population will be living in big cities, so substantial investments in transport, health, infrastructure or waste management should be made in order to address people needs. But it is not just about possible investments; resources will have to be managed efficiently to avoid over-exploitation, ensuring the general welfare.

The European Commission launched few years ago a programme for the development of a network of smart cities. This project is mainly focused on areas such as transport, telecommunications or energy, and its main goal is to achieve business and work opportunities, as well as the resource management, increasing the cities potential in a more sustainable way.

The target set by European Commission is known as the “20-20-20”, which means that by 2020 CO2 emissions and energy waste will be reduced by 20%, at the same time as the use of renewable energies will increase in this same percentage.

This is where new technologies play a key role, because the concept of smart city is based on the use of internet. In the short-term, all services will become part of the network, which will result in saving time and energy as their management can be monitored and automated in real time. Moreover, users will have wireless connection anywhere and anytime, as well as mobile applications that will facilitate information, and interaction with city services. As a result of these improvements the quality of life will increase as the information flow will be bidirectional and immediate.

What are the characteristics that must have a city to be considered smart?

  • They must be eco-friendly: future cities should minimize pollutant emissions, increase the use of the clean or renewable energies, as well as carry out proper management of waste generated.
  • Mobility: fundamental requirement in future cities, barriers must disappear, giving way to the universal accessibility. Infrastructure, telecommunications, transport and sustainability are essential to fulfil with the mobility status of a Smart city.
  • Economy: productivity, labour market flexibility, international immersion or facility to generate employment and business, are some of the basic characteristics of the cities of tomorrow.
  • Smart people: people are undoubtedly those that make up the cities, so they need to be properly formed. They must be plural, ethnical, flexible and participative, because without them, the development of smart cities cannot be achieved.

As it is shown, the cities of the future are just around the corner, but in order to reach the goals, it is necessary that the government and citizens commit themselves to achieve the common good and sustainability standards.