Our role in urban sustainability | General | News & Articles - Ubiwhere

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DEC 26 2019

Our role in urban sustainability

Ubiwhere

Smart Cities. New Technologies. Sustainability. Citizens. Four concepts intrinsically connected that aim to be synonym of an innovative and sustainable future, with people in the core of the strategy that we believe that will define the cities of the future. More than creating smart cities, the future will also involve the creation of a complete ecosystem of happy cities. But there are still (some) things to be done.

What’s like living in a happy city?

It’s living in a city where the main focus is the people’s well being. Where the citizen is at the core of everything that happens. Where there are practices and policies that improve people’s quality of life. But the effort can’’t lie only over cities. Usually, as much as cities think one step ahead, people are the main engine to make it happen. And that starts with our concern for the sustainability of the planet and reflecting about the environmental impact of each of our actions. If we look at the current Portuguese landscape, we clearly understand that there is no government (nor ruler) that can successfully implement measures on behalf of environmental sustainability, if people won’t be involved. And, we have to recognize that, as citizens, we often criticize political decision-making in many quarters (because it is in our nature to be critical), but we do not look at our own individual action, ignoring the correct adoption of the proposed measures.

A clear reference can be the high investment over the years on awareness campaigns for recycling, which are often accepted slowly, indolently and selfishly by a major part of the population. On a more critical manner, this is a matter that also requires reflection on what it actually means to have an ecological attitude: Is it placing a piece of paper on the blue bin and thinking we’ve done our best? Is it quitting using straws? Is it to stop throwing paper on the floor and trading plastic bottles for the glass ones? Being environmental-friendly is not just about shopping using a reusable bag and walking home with the sense of mission accomplished. Being environmental-friendly is to understand the speed of climate change and the fast growing lack of resources, is to evaluate our ecological footprint, is to change practices in an effective way.

But there’s another factor: technology.

Despite many worldwide current challenges, the sustainability of a Smart City is defined by the advances of new technologies and for the need of constant readaptation. The global landscape is increasingly challenging for cities and requires new urban development models based on innovative and sustainable solutions. Technological and smart solutions that connect cities and citizens. Today, trends such as Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning or Big Data are being discussed. There are algorithms, data, interfaces and sensors that interconnect and provide useful information that enables decision-making based on concrete data, assessing their impacts in real time and improving the quality of life in cities. Solutions for improving urban mobility, which detect available parking spaces or traffic congestion, are an example of that. They are structured solutions that respond to specific problems in the city.

Ubiwhere´s Urban Platform has a broader role: simple and intuitive, it gives cities the access to the status of each service, facilitate real-time decision making - identifying occurrences through data analysis such as traffic, noise, accidents, air quality, among others - and also analyze the data in a contextual way, taking into account the impacts that these different aspects have on each other. It also gives citizens access to up-to-date information using each service according to their needs. The Urban Platform also provides visibility into the indicators defined by the standard ISO37120 (Sustainable Cities and Communities - Indicators for city services and quality of life), which defines sustainable indicators within the scope of Smart Cities.

This solution not only aggregates all data from a single city on a single screen, but also displays the overall state of the city’s sustainability and indicators that define quality of life. After all, technological solutions already exist.

An inclusive and sustainable future.

Despite many worldwide current challenges, the sustainability of a Smart City is defined by the advances of new technologies and for the need of constant readaptation. The global landscape is increasingly challenging for cities and requires new urban development models based on innovative and sustainable solutions. Technological and smart solutions that connect cities and citizens. Today, trends such as Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning or Big Data are being discussed. There are algorithms, data, interfaces and sensors that interconnect and provide useful information that enables decision-making based on concrete data, assessing their impacts in real time and improving the quality of life in cities. Solutions for improving urban mobility, which detect available parking spaces or traffic congestion, are an example of that. They are structured solutions that respond to specific problems in the city.

This article was written by Diana Marques, Ubiwhere’’s Communication Manager, and was originally published in the Game Changer magazine. Get to know the original publication here.

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