The year 2020 has been a difficult one for urban areas.
Before the pandemic hit, so-called “superstar cities” were drawing in new talent and capital. In developing economies, the density and complexity of urban areas acted as powerful stimulants—and even as preconditions—for growth. China’s economic success, powered by its extensive population clusters, only added to the city’s prestige.
The pandemic suddenly turned the urban density that had created such dynamism into a double-edged sword. As if that weren’t challenging enough in itself, social unrest has been roiling cities around the world, exposing problems that have long gone unresolved.
If 2020 has anything to teach us about the city, it’s that we shouldn’t take it for granted. Urban areas need practical solutions to make them more resilient and sustainable, and they need them now.
This is where the smart city comes in: a digital urban ecosystem embracing Internet of Things technology and connecting multiple city systems. IoT tech’s data-gathering, analytical, and automation capabilities drive breakthroughs in urban management. The results are deep insights for city managers and planners, increased resilience, lower municipal costs, and a better quality of life for citizens in general.
Smart cities are better equipped to withstand the stresses to which urban areas are increasingly subjected. These stresses include climate change, rising sea levels, resource scarcity, and social inequality. Recent history has added public health crises, economic downturns, and other items to the list.