The world is constantly growing, and people are looking for resources, opportunities, and intervention to create an advanced habitat. After the industrial revolution, the human realm observed a shift in lifestyle leading to rapid urban development. Along with upskilling, the world is tackling several issues like growing population, constant climate change, increasing water scarcity, depletion of resources. 

Cities are becoming large and complex. The network of spaces is becoming immense to control. Thus, an initiative of smart city projects is expanding around the globe to understand the complexity of the built environment. 

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Concept of Smart City 

The smart city project bridges the gap between social and technological factors. It is a leap towards an advanced organization of a place for the betterment of its people. Smart city mission focuses on the renewal of urban spaces, developing economic opportunities, improving public services, providing everyday amenities, and accelerating citizen engagement.

Technology plays a key role in achieving and sustaining a smart city. The incorporation of technology is improving energy efficiency, air quality, reducing traffic congestion, maintaining trash collection, and positively affecting many more aspects of everyday life.

Smart city interface is a framework that helps municipalities, citizens in developing, analyzing, and maintaining the data in real-time. Moreover, this data bank helps make more efficient and feasible decisions to improve the quality of life.

Smart solutions like sensors, e-commerce, smart signalling, and parking system, smart meters, solar lights, air, and water quality monitoring sensors, and city surveillance systems robust problem solving and enhance the quality of living. 

Urbanization is the need of the hour. Factors like environmental, social, and economic sustainability should be observed, to keep up with this rapid growth.

Digitalization is a catalyst in this never-ending phenomenon. Digitalization accelerates to achieve the goal of a resilient, sustainable, and balanced smart city.

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Digital Twin

A digital twin is a virtual model of the physical world. This replica of the smart city assists in visualizing the city pulse in real-time. These virtual models act as testers and prototypers before implementing new strategies. Even for real-time users like firefighters, virtual models aid in predicting the location of the fire and its behavior. Digital twins of the smart city not only sensorizes the virtual 3D model but also helps in better understanding of the community. By getting a glimpse of what is lacking, each community can improve the environment and services.

Digital twin allows planners to optimize traffic movement, conduct research, and make effective decisions. Research-oriented decisions save time and result in well-structured designing and planning.

Parameters to measure Digitalization

An important question, How to measure the impact of digitalization? arises.

The indicators to assess the smartness of a city can be measured by judging its mobility pattern, quality of living, health sector, economic growth, physical infrastructure, and democratic values.

There are certain limitations to measure the extent of smartness like varying government assistance, municipal administrations, and the transit system. The framework of digitalization cannot be limited to any extent. It depends on the data collection and analysis.

Many smart city projects further break down to subject-oriented development like ‘smart living’ or ‘smart mobility, focusing on developing a particular aspect. 

Opportunities generated by Digitalization

Digitalization delivers an opportunity for stakeholders, authorities, and people to reform the practices from the ground up.  

Improve integration and public facilities

Digitalization renders urban facilities. Cities start to function on the smart grids which connect the entire transport system. The advanced mobility reduces time in reaching from point A to B and allows secure travel. Electricity grids contribute to saving energy and renewal of energy by connecting several devices altogether, known as the internet of things. These devices can be machines, communicating devices, and services like weather stations, Heating and cooling systems, solar panels, electric vehicles, washing machines, or other appliances. 

A step towards a sustainable and resilient environment 

Research and survey-based reforms are accurate and more cost-effective. The real-time information of resources allows more organized manufacturing and consumption. The digital imprint functions beyond maintaining a sustainable environment by alarming the naturally occurring disasters. Early warning systems for earthquakes or cyclones give time for precautions and mitigation and improve the response and recovery. 

New windows for entrepreneurs and small firms

The upscaling market opens up job opportunities for small-scale firms and businesses. Digital innovation requires advanced IT support and bridges the gap for small-scale firms to enter the market. Unbiased for selective firms, cities openly look for innovative ideas and practical approaches.

Enhanced Citizen Engagement 

Improved civic laws and technology will create a platform for citizens to engage and strengthen the community. E-governance portals like online tax collection systems, passport-related services, and rewarding programs like hackathons allow people to be involved with the system.

Flourishing Tourism Sector

The digitalization of cities has played a major role in the expansion of the tourism department. The rapid growth has left policymakers to re-interpret the experience of tourists and activities heading to economic growth. Policies like low taxation, social security, stimulating new businesses, and looking into the benefit of the tourist have upgraded tourism marketing. 

Challenges

Amidst the everyday technological advancement, the digitalization of cities comes up with a range of challenges. 

The key entity of the smart city framework is its data. If data is not well processed, it does not count as a valuable asset for policymakers. Lack of skilled staff, incompatible data, lack of data sharing, a non-strategic framework can lead to a destructive urban environment.

Moreover, advanced research requires reliable funding and resources. Unstable budget and financial mechanisms are other challenges in the journey of advancement.

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Future is NOW: 4th Industrial Revolution

In the postmodern world of never-ending urbanization, it is time to understand the details of the Digitalization of the cities. The concept of smart cities is vast and complex beyond the notions of today. The digitalization of smart cities should not be just a buzzing topic; instead, it requires collective, far-fetched efforts to attain the goals of tomorrow. 

REFERENCE LIST

  1. TAdviser.ru. (2020). In Russia the “serious” project of digitalization of the cities is created. [online] Available at: https://tadviser.com/index.php/Article:The_digital_city_(the_project_of_digitalization_of_the_cities_in_Russia) 
  2. Inc, D. (n.d.). 24,534 Smart city Vector Images – Free & Royalty-free Smart city Vectors | Depositphotos®. [online] Depositphotos. Available at: https://depositphotos.com/vector-images/smart-city.html 
  3. Googleapis.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://storage.googleapis.com/blogs-images/ciscoblogs/1/City-Digitalization-768×374.png 
Author

Vanshika was born and raised in Delhi. She is an aesthete, loves to explore the field of art, design, architecture, and everything in between. When it comes to writing, she has always been that kid confiding into diaries and penning down her thoughts. She strongly believes in learning and re-learning

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