The future of cities - urban development for sustainable transformation
Insight by Nora Holz
News publ. 20. Jun 2013
The increasing urbanisation will exacerbate many problems of cities in developing and emerging countries. For that reason, adelphi is currently conducting a study to examine how smart city concepts can be used in order to address these problems and achieve key development goals.
Nowadays, three quarters of all greenhouse gases are emitted in cities. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can help to reduce harmful emissions. At the same time, ICT applications support intelligent concepts of urban development and urban management, i.e. "smart cities". According to adelphi’s Managing Director Alexander Carius, the term describes "environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive urban development, which systematically and intelligently combines information and communication technologies (ICT) with central elements of urban development such as transport systems, energy infrastructure, and other public services". In that regard, the concept could not only be suitable for highly developed cities in Europe or the US but also megacities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This is one of the first results of the study that Carius presented at a panel discussion during the Development Policy Dialogue in the context of the Asia-Pacific Weeks 2013 in Berlin. At the moment, adelphi is evaluating potential entry points for German development cooperation for the concept of smart cities in developing and emerging countries.
Central aspects of the study are energy efficiency (energy management systems and smart grids), consumption control through intelligent measurement and control technologies, connected transport and mobility concepts (traffic control, car sharing) but also technology-based solutions for citizen’s participation and administrative streamlining (e-Government). adelphi assesses these technological applications as to their applicability to cities in developing and emerging countries and shows how important development goals such as poverty reduction, green growth and good governance can be supported. Alexander Carius emphasised that "ICT applications alone cannot solve urban development problems". However, they can "complement sustainable urban development concepts and lead to innovation and leapfrogging especially in industrialised and emerging countries, if individual behaviour and consumption patterns do also change".
adelphi will present the complete "Smart Cities" study in August. It shall sharpen the development-policy debate on ICT and urban development.