Sofie Thielemans

Published on 21/02/2019

From tokens to drones: the future lies with the smart city

Mobility, energy, safety, urban development, … the list of challenges for cities and municipalities just keeps growing. Watching from the side lines is no longer an option. To be able to provide a solution to increasing population, pressure of work and climate problems, innovation is the keyword. Cities that want to grow sustainably will have to transform themselves into “smart cities” in the short term. Discover now what criteria a smart city must fulfil.

How does a smart city work?

What is the difference between “normal” cities and municipalities on the one hand and smart cities on the other? That is to be seen above all in their vision of the future. A smart city thinks primarily of the long term and mostly takes decisions that will have a positive effect on the sustainability of the city or municipality. And then you soon come to smart mobility, maximum energy saving, sustainable urban development, digital communication … Each and every one of those issues is given priority in a smart city.

Working on liveability

The assumption is the creation of a liveable city that puts citizens first and connects residents with each other. Here technology plays an essential part. Today, almost everyone has a smartphone and that creates a vast number of opportunities. Just think of an app for reporting signalling problems or an adjustment to the traffic policy based on data (WiFi connections, smartphones) and sensors that map the various traffic flows.

Private and public initiatives

Urban innovation does not only come down from a higher authority but also from the citizen himself/herself. Thus, for instance there are a number of private initiatives that contribute to a liveable city. Just think of the Deliveroo home delivery platform, which uses bikes as the means of transport or Amazon’s plans to make their deliveries by drone.

Urbi+ is another wonderful example of a smart city tool. It is not only the community security staff but also the parks and gardens and police services that are made more efficient.

Urbi+: mobile office

Thanks to Urbi+, public services are available via a mobile office. Explanations, schedules, reports and much more besides can be handled via a handy app. Out with the hassle of paperwork. With Urbi+, community security staff and parks and gardens and police services spend less time in the office and more time on the street.