Cities get smart: what does smart city mean?
The United Nations estimates that more than 55% of the world’s population lives in what it calls “urban settlements,” a figure it expects to increase to 60% of a larger total population by 2030. That puts cities at the center of the organization’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The concept of the smart city probably arose after 2008, when major tech companies began talking up the potential for technology to transform cities into high-tech, efficient, centers of innovation. The scope of that model has widened as the importance of cities in beating climate change has grown. And while there is no single definition of exactly what a smart city community is, the basic consensus is that it uses technology to minimize both inputs and outputs. So what is a smart city? It is a sustainable city.
Smart cities are key for sustainable development in line with the UN’s SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals - ed). That’s because, as they look to reduce energy consumption, they can improve performance and management with information-driven solutions for smart grid energy, air quality monitoring, speed controls, road management, and much more besides.
This is key to promote in our cities economic competitiveness, social inclusion and respect for the environment, considering these objectives within a vision that brings together innovation and sustainability, and which is most effectively expressed in circular economy.
Chairman of the Enel Group
Innovative solutions for the city ecosystem
Local authorities, grappling with the challenges presented by climate change, surging energy demand, evolving consumer habits and citizens’ growing expectations, will have to update energy storage business models and invest smart grid solutions to gain the benefits technology promises; moreover, they will have to do so in an integrated way.
Enel X is able to partner with city administrations globally offering a range of innovative solutions that embrace the entire city ecosystem, from lighting and smart grid technology to building management, from transportation to logistics, and much else.
Our experience with more than 1,500 projects illuminating Italian monuments and architecture shows how our portfolio of solutions offers local governments a unique interface that simplifies and integrates the management of the services those authorities supply.
The Circular Economy Report: our service for the companies
The reduction in inputs and outputs that helps define a smart city and smart energy communities meshes with our commitment to the circular economy, which seeks to design out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use. This includes a consulting service – the Circular Economy Report - that gauges the level of circularity shown by a local government organization. The Report also proposes ways in which our innovative solutions can help with problems identified and sets out measures that will enhance circularity, e-mobility, energy efficiency and much else.
These measures offer integrated solutions to the issues raised by circularity, as exemplified by our lampposts. These have sustainable inputs, using energy-saving materials, energy conservation models and technologies. They use the same asset for multiple functions, from cameras to charging stations for electric vehicles. They are not “just” a public lighting service but a part of an integrated approach to ensuring that a smart city is a sustainable city.