One key path to lead the development of Latin America is through the implementation of Smart Cities, which solves citizens’ daily problems through the management of modern tools that have the goal to improve quality of life.
How will new technologies be part of our everyday lives in cities? Moreover, how are cities to fund them?
According to the Smart Cities Council (SCC), a coalition of technology companies with expertise in areas such as energy, water, communications and transportation, a smart city “has digital technology embedded across all city functions.”
Phillip Bane, its Managing Director, will speak at the BNamericas Latam Leaders Forum. He is responsible for developing strategies and implementing plans to develop high-value interactions between cities and all its stakeholders.
“We’re all in this world together and our Global Alliance for Smart Cities Councils reflects that,” Bane says. “We’re engaging stakeholders to work with us to promote smarter, more sustainable cities around the globe.”
The SCC envisions “a world where digital technology and intelligent design have been harnessed to create smart, sustainable cities with high-quality living and high-quality jobs.”
“ICT-enabled cities – or smart cities – are more resilient during times of distress due to effective resource allocation and infrastructure management.”
Their three core values are:
“Cities that provide clean, healthy living conditions without pollution and congestion. With a digital infrastructure that makes city services instantly and conveniently available anytime, anywhere.”
“Cities that provide the enabling infrastructure — energy, connectivity, computing, essential services — to compete globally for high-quality jobs.”
“Cities that provide services without stealing from future generations.”
Bane exemplified a New York pilot of the Compassionate Cities Campaign, using data such as court records, shelter history and demographic information, with an analytics tool to identify families at risk of becoming homeless. “The information helped social workers decide where to focus their efforts. As a result, 50% more families were connected with eviction prevention services compared to neighborhoods not using the tool,” he says.
Can LatAm Cities be Smart?
Urban Strategist Boyd Cohen, from Co.Exist, developed the “Fast Cities Wheel” to quantify intelligence in cities.
He ranked what he considers the top eight smart cities in the region. According to him, they “are making strides towards becoming more efficient, cleaner, more innovative, and yes, smarter.”
1. Santiago, Chile
A city with the lowest level of corruption in Latin America, it ranks high as a business partner, with a good metro system, bike sharing programs, and smart business parks.
2. Mexico City, Mexico
One of the first cities in the world to experiment with smog absorvent building technology.
3. Bogota, Colombia
Its rapid bus transit system is among the most extensive and utilized systems in the world.
4. Buenos Aires, Argentina
With a Ministry for Modernization, it combines urban renovation with cluster development by investing in new infrastructure in blighted areas.
5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It has an operations center, allowing for real-time monitoring of meteorological, traffic and crime data, as mapping poverty areas and urban waste hotspots.
6. Curitiba, Brazil
It integrated the use of green spaces to absorb runoff in the rainy season, and developed as recreational parks during the dry season.
7. Medellín, Colombia
Introduced gondolas and electric staircases to support the integration of the poorer hillside communities.
8. Montevideo, Uruguay
The city has programs to support technology entrepreneurship helping “Uruguay become the largest per capita software exporter in Latin America.”?
How to Fund a Smart City
These projects are complex ventures. The World Bank, a partner of the SCC, carried out a series of diagnostics to develop a practical framework for sustainable urbanization.
“The large capital investments that are needed in the construction phase-whether for transport, water provision, solid waste management, or sewage removal and treatment-are likely to far exceed the budget of any city government,” it said.
To develop a Smart City, the Wolrd Bank suggests a series of steps:
Source: World Bank
The World Bank book Planning, Connecting, and Financing Cities expands on the pool of tools to fund smart city development projects, such as green bonds, different kinds of Private Public Partnerships (PPP), government back credit transfers, etc.
Its suggested framework for development is:
Source: World Bank