IEEE reviews the buzz about urbanisation
Globally there are attention-grabbing talks about Smart City that would make cities liveable in a sustained environmentally-friendly way. Urban experts and information technology specialists are collaborating to find solutions to rapid urbanisation across the world that would see cities emerging…

Globally there are attention-grabbing talks about Smart City that would make cities liveable in a sustained environmentally-friendly way.

Urban experts and information technology specialists are collaborating to find solutions to rapid urbanisation across the world that would see cities emerging as pollution free living space.

The engineers’ global alliance known as IEEE Smart Cities Initiative has recently named incredibly diverse cities such as Kansas City in the US and Casablanca, Morocco, as new core cities.

Gilles Betis, who is heading the alliance, said there were two primary reasons that drove them to select the two cities. First, both cities presented comprehensive applications that established they had already taken major steps towards smarter, more efficient governance and infrastructure for all their citizens.

It included multi-stakeholder support for progress among the city government, the IEEE local chapter, local industries and local universities. Kansas and Casablanca had a clear plan for improving their citizens’ quality of life.

Second, the selection process took into account geographic diversity as well as diverse challenges. Kansas City is the first core city selected for North America, where urban infrastructure needs rejuvenating and digital technologies can play a cost-effective role. Casablanca establishes a core city on the African continent, where cities are growing at a high rate, creating pockets of poverty.

To place these cities in context, IEEE’s first core city was Trento, Italy, which is a European city in a developed country with a relatively high standard of living. Its challenges are different from the other two original core cities – Guadalajara, Mexico, and Wuxi, China. This diversity issues were factored into the selection of Kansas City and Casablanca.

Kansas City already has a forward-looking communication infrastructure on which authorities can build on. It has a relatively high standard of living, but with urban renewal issues pertinent to many cities in North America.

In contrast, Casablanca will need to bring its diverse communities into the process of determining what affordable technologies can address their challenges – not unlike other North African cities.

One of the initiative’s goals is to establish that cities with different histories, cultures, resources and different points of departure can develop their own solutions and share that knowledge, which will take two basic forms.

One is sharing solutions with affiliated cities in geographic proximity to the core city. The other educational mechanism is to develop and share best practices for specific problems that might occur anywhere in the world.

In this IEEE Standards Association is playing a role by developing intelligent, efficient infrastructure.

Smart Cities do not need to reinvent the wheel. IEEE has introduced a number of standards to help improve secure connectivity and communications in urban areas. These will be reviewed with stakeholders of Kansas City and Casablanca.

The cities will present their step-by-step plans for the next two years and create multi-disciplinary working groups to determine how best to achieve those plans. The cities will also discuss their knowledge creation and dissemination plans. The latter must touch nearby affiliated cities as well as the global community.

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