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What kind of smart city do you want to create?

Since writing on Smart Cities and Smart Nations, I found that you can filter places with ‘smart’ initiatives into different categories of ‘Smart’. From Barcelona to San Diego, Singapore to New York, governments are making great progress in providing their citizens with a more connected way of life. One that caters to their local personality and pizazz.

For example, Barcelona braces itself for competition although the city is well-renowned for being ‘smart’ already. The city has over 25 projects dedicated to this initiative. These projects include: new bus networks, telecare services, smart traffic lights, mobile ID, barcelona wi-fi, and others. These projects and others are organized under a portal for Barcelona smart cities apps. Barcelona is often seen as a hub for smart technology as it frequently holds IoT and other tech conferences. Barcelona is the trendsetter in the smart world, as its design and artistic edge has great influence over its presentation of their smart projects.

Amsterdam began its smart city path in 2009. Since then, it has accumulated 79 projects under its wings, coordinated by locals, government, and business. Every year the city runs the Amsterdam Smart City Challenge where people submit proposals for new developments. Amsterdam Smart City highlights 3 districts that are seen as living labs. The neighborhood of IJburg is one of the most connected young neighborhoods in Amsterdam. Since it was reclaimed in the late 1990s, high tech developments have been integrated into homes, commercial areas, and recreational centres to match the young and vibrant people who live there. This district and the rest of the city is teeming with energy and enthusiasm which makes Amsterdam the smart and radiant city.

San Diego, a relaxed atmosphere and highly conservation oriented attitude feeds the direction of its smart programs. The Smart Car program allows for San Diegans to car-share rather than purchasing vehicles themselves. The cars are electricity operated and fits two comfortably. For cars that are fueled by our normal gasoline methods, Biochemical researchers are currently working on technology that will splice the natural components of algae to create oil. This innovative science has constructed a new mode of renewable car fuel extracted from substances found at the local beaches.

The new Public Library is a showcase building for the up and coming downtown area of San Diego. Now, you may ask, isn’t building a library opposite of building smart technology? Yet, this library incorporates both old and new. There is your standard rows of books and also advanced computer labs that offer more than just access to the internet. This is a center for community engagement and facilitates a sense of belonging across all generations.

San Diego is a model for smart serenity and balance with nature. As a San Diegan myself, these values are embedded in my outlook in life. Being more in balance with our surrounding environment and finding that serene state is essential to our daily lives.

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