Data-Smart City Solutions: We are in the early days of smart cities which fuse the physical and the digital realms, enabling people and autonomous systems to respond in real time to vast amounts of new data. The inputs: sensors, drones, video cameras, and other urban instruments that will gather data about the movement of people and monitor our built and natural environments. The expected output: cities more capable of achieving their priorities related to sustainability, resilience, and operations, and citizens better prepared to navigate their cities and services. Like the beginning of any trend, uncertainty reigns.
This new model requires the widespread use of advanced analytics techniques that allow cities to process and act upon data in real time, resulting in efficiencies in transportation, energy, water, waste management, and other services. Data from urban instruments will be integrated with administrative and operational data (e.g., health, housing, transit), allowing policymakers and scientists to discover new insights about urban systems. Residents can make data-informed decisions in their daily lives (e.g., commuting) and will be empowered by data to effect change (e.g., improving air quality). In this scenario, technology will provide critical solutions to challenges associated with rapid urbanization. Our transportation systems and public facilities will become more sustainable, lowering the carbon footprint of cities. And through better management of infrastructure, our cities will become more resilient to disruptions — from manmade and natural disasters to routine challenges like snowstorms and potholes.