Smart cities… and sustainable cities




It is an unstoppable trend. All cities want to be smart and green… How is this evolution going, what are the sustainable solutions of smart cities? in this post we clarify it with the examples that we have liked the most.

We are calling for sustainability in more and more areas of our lives, an impulse that has already reached cities. We are talking not only about orienting our individual consumption habits, but also about applying the same vision in infrastructures, innovation and technology to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. These acts, which can be small changes, are what lead a city to become more efficient and sustainable, a smart city.

Smart cities use a wide variety of methods to achieve their objectives. It is common to associate smart cities to the concepts of digital city or connected city, however, values of environmental care, governance or social cohesion have been added to them. Singapore, Tokyo or New York are some of the best known examples, but in this post we wanted to look for projects closer to home and talk about their impact.

The governance parameter is key to assessing smart cities, which is why open government initiatives are becoming increasingly common. Thus, cities such as Zaragoza, Seville, A Coruña or Sta Cruz de Tenerife have implemented web portals to encourage dialogue with citizens and among neighbors. However, it has been the Madrid City Council that in 2018 awarded the UN for Decide Madrid, its digital platform for citizen participation based on the free software Consul. Each region has different projects, a diversity that promotes improvement in other places as was the case of Malaga, which by echoing the effectiveness of its technology received a visit from a delegation of the Municipal Government of Shantou (China).

In terms of air conditioning, Soria and Móstoles are solving local pollution with district heating projects with centralized heating for the neighborhood, thus reducing the impact per inhabitant.

Boadilla del Monte opted to tackle this aspect with green roofs (green facades and terraces that help alleviate the heat island effect), which now total 100,000 m2 of surface area, the largest green roof in Europe.

Restricting the most polluting road traffic is another priority of smart cities, so pedestrianization will be another essential factor. San Sebastian managed a few years ago to increase the pedestrian area from 45% to 74% and cities such as Madrid, Valencia, Santiago or Oviedo are working on it. This measure has not only reduced emissions, but has also increased sales in local stores and made these places more friendly environments for groups such as the elderly, people with reduced mobility or children, while encouraging public transport. Evidently, another important change for the reduction of mobility emissions has been the electrification of transport. Postal services, the local police force and public transport itself are investing in electric cars.

Mesa auxiliar Mistral de Revolución Limo
Mesa auxiliar hueca Galaxia de Revolución Limo

However, the biggest challenge for cities is the increase in population. An increase that triggers a greater amount of waste and therefore greater difficulty to manage it. Cities such as Santander have implemented sensorization with a network that collects, in addition to information for efficient waste management, light points or weather stations.

In addition to public services, citizens can take responsibility for proper waste management in their environment. By advocating reuse and recycling, Revolución Limo wants to join this challenge, being an example of a sustainable firm concerned about the manufacturing process of its designs.