But, the cities at the forefront of this growing urban revolution are often the unexpected.
Another time-saving design is the city layout itself. Public services, such as schools, hospitals and transportation are close to one another and easily accessible.
“Your life is easier because of living in the most functional city in the world,” he adds.
But now development is less about infrastructure and more about an interconnected system of devices, known as the Internet of Things (IoT).
New meets old
Cities don’t have to be custom-built to be able to unlock this potential. The ancient cliffside city of Matera in southern Italy is working to become one of the first 5G-enabled cities in Europe.
“There’s been a real focus to rejuvenate this area. And to make it a center first of all of tourism but also to take efforts to make it a place for investment in an industry,” says Jonathan Reichental, an expert on emerging technology trends in urban environments.
High-tech conveniences come at the cost of sharing personal data.
“Data about you is used for delivering all sorts of both public and private services. And people are concerned about what that means to their privacy,” says Reichental.
As smart cities evolve, governments need to gain the trust of citizens to use their private data responsibly, says Udo Kock, deputy mayor of Amsterdam, where an open data program is helping to make it one of Europe’s most innovative environments.
“Don’t think of Smart Cities as just a technology solution, think of it as collaboration. Involve communities, involve citizens and it’s very important for governments to work together with businesses and private citizens,” says Kock.