Smart Cities
Smart City, Amazing Life
Mark Conway

“Smart cities are about quality of life.”

Smart Cities aren’t just about technology or integration. Smart Cities aren’t just about unprecedented collaboration, flow of information, sustainability, or unimpeded mobility. Smart Cities are about quality of life. Our planet’s population is predicted to double by 2050 and global urbanization is accelerating like no time in history. Today’s engineers and planners are solving the problems of the future, and it’s an exciting time!

The challenges are monumental. Those at the forefront recognize that Smart Cities are not just about integrating and optimizing the efficiency of a community’s assets and services — such as infrastructure, buildings, transportation, commerce, health care, education, livable areas, urban agriculture, waste management, parking, pollution, and the 50 billion other things expected to be connected in the next 20 years (i.e., the Internet of Things [IoT]).

Information and communication technology (ICT) on the cusp of creation will allow most anything to be connected to the Internet. ICT allows city officials to interact directly with the community and city infrastructure to monitor what’s happening in the city, how it is evolving, and how to enable a better quality of life. What secret benefits do our cities hold if these things are monitored, managed, and optimized? What efficiencies and cost savings await discovery?

A Smart City is much like a flock of migrating birds — a seemingly single organism comprised of thousands of individuals operating in unison toward a common goal. Smart City innovators today are addressing the needs of what is sure to be an amazing future, beyond our wildest imaginations.

Mark Conway / P.E.
Mark is a Principal and the Director of ITS Engineering with Walter P Moore’s Traffic practice in Houston, Texas.