The 19th century was a century of empires, the 20th century was a century of nation states and the 21st century is shaping up to be a century of cities, in particular Smart Cities.
Today, 55% of people live in cities. By 2050, it is anticipated that 68% of the world’s population will be urban dwellers. This unregulated growth in most parts of the world, including Canada, is placing increasing pressure on city infrastructures, especially transportation, energy, housing, water, public health and city services.
On a grander scale and with a view to the future, Smart Cities and Smart City technologies can provide solutions to challenges that have long been troubling both city and world leaders alike, such as ways and means to provide affordable housing, reduce poverty, address climate change, deliver quality health care and reduce transportation grid lock at the same time as cities become the dominant nexus of human habitation.
A Smart City uses real-time and archival data and digital technology to assist employees, businesses and citizens in making better decisions across a range of city functions from monitoring and controlling city infrastructures (e.g., utilities), city services (e.g., first responders) and city consultations (e.g., from city to citizens and vice versa) all with a view to improving operations and the quality of city services ultimately leading to improve quality of life for citizens and visitors. Smart Cities rely on digital assets.
A digital asset is more than just a data or media file, to realize its value there must be additional information about the file – metadata – that makes it both discoverable and usable. The data contained in a digital asset are what give it value, and the value of a digital asset is represented by its data. If data are not discoverable and usable, a digital asset has little value.
A Smart City’s success largely depends on its ability to form a strong relationship between the government — including its bureaucracy and regulations — and the private sector. This relationship is necessary because most of the work that is done to create and maintain a digital, data-driven environment occurs outside of the government.
According to a recent study conducted by ESI ThoughtLab, the adoption of Smart City technologies can raise GDP per capita by 21% and population growth by 13% over the next five years. The study was conducted based on 136 cities in 55 countries, 750 businesses and 2,000 citizens in 11 cities. The study’s authors state that without the right vision, plans, talent, and funding in place, smart city programs will not reach their full potential of providing economic, social and productivity benefits
Global Advantage’s Briefing Deck, “Understanding Municipal Digital Assets in the Age of Smart Communities”, paints a picture of the pervasive domestic and global challenges facing cities, and the “smart” trends and strategies that will leverage the power of data, empower sustainability, deliver safe and reliable services, and drive economic growth community-wide.
The Briefing Deck answers the following questions:
- What are the pervasive challenges facing cities?
- What is a smart community?
- Why should we care about smart solutions?
- What is a digital asset and why are they valuable?
- Who owns and governs digital assets in Canada?
- How is data a municipal asset, and how can it be applied in a municipal context?
- What Smart Communities policies have other jurisdictions put in place?
- How to develop a ‘Smart’ Smart Community strategy
Understand how your community can implement digital assets and technologies to improve city planning and operations and mitigate urban challenges.