Role of Technology in making cities better (Sustainably)
ICTs are changing the world, one city at a time! By leveraging Information and Communication Technologies, ambitious but desirable best practices such as seamless multi-modal transportation can be achieved effectively.
Governments all over the world are using improvements obtained by technological advances to tackle the challenges in the field of mobility. Vast amounts of data collected through ICTs is investigated to inform decision-makers about problem areas and how social problems can be solved more easily.
The role played by ICTs in the field of mobility becomes even more critical, because of their ability to behave as a digital platform from which an information and knowledge network is created. This creates an environment where obtained data is not just representative of knowledge for the purpose of data analysis but also lends a fresh perspective into how the city is performing in terms of resource consumption, services, and lifestyle. This allows the creation of a knowledge base which can then be used as a sort of “reference” through which stakeholders can execute ideas and take decisions with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life for the citizens and society as a whole.
These technologies facilitate certain key functions such as:
ICT enabled Information and knowledge sharing
Without them, cities are not ready to solve problems effectively even if they are otherwise well equipped, but with the immediateness and accuracy of ICT based technologies, relevant stakeholders are able to gain access to information about problems in advance and take action before they escalate
ICT based forecasts
Stressors like natural disasters may sometimes give very little time to react, but ICTs allow considerable amounts of data to be available making it possible to study patterns, identify trends and anticipate risks and problems so that a city can maximise its preparedness and response capabilities
ICT enabled integration
The ability to access information from systems (such as early warning systems) in a timely fashion leads to a better understanding of city vulnerabilities, giving us plenty of time to fix critical issues, before they become problematic.
A great resource on this subject is provided by the ITU-T focus group on Smart, Sustainable Cities (FG-SSC) Link (downloads a doc file).
For a city to become “smart”, it is vital to adopt an approach that deals with technology, and get involved with the creation of the abovementioned infrastructure components, so that vital information can be accessed, which can better inform decision making. This kind of a setup would become indispensable not only during times of emergency but would result in an improved quality of life, every day.