The following is an excerpt from Bloomberg.com | November 23, 2016 |
Already the engines that power global economic growth, cities will only become more important in the future. A study by Oxford Economics showed the world’s 750 largest cities will account for 61 percent of global GDP by 2030 — or $80 trillion. However, as their economic power increases, many urban areas are also contending with overcrowding, strained infrastructure and environmental pressures such as deteriorating air quality.
Around the world, governments have realized that the growth of cities will be sustainable only if they can provide a solid quality of life for their citizens, as well as the opportunities and infrastructure that attract talent and foster innovative enterprises. Developing “smart” cities — where connected technologies and systems are deployed to improve the management of city assets and the delivery of services to citizens — has thus become a major priority. The number of smart cities worldwide will more than quadruple to at least 88 by 2025, IHS Markit projects, with the highest concentration (32) in Asia-Pacific.
From vision to reality
The smart city stakes are high, not least because the investments involved are significant. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently unveiled plans to mobilize nearly $170 million to roll out smart city technologies nationwide; in India, analysts have estimated the government’s smart city plans could require over $150 billion. Where will this money go, and how can the various agencies involved — which will include governments, telecom vendors, developers, private businesses and citizens’ groups — ensure it is spent effectively?
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