How Cities Are Getting Smarter Using Artificial Intelligence

Justin Dennis
November 16, 2023

Spending on smart cities technology will be about $80 billion, perhaps $135 billion by 2021. These investments will make spread opportunity and make cities more convenient and sustainable.

According to a new report from the IDC spending in smart cities technology may reach $135 billion globally..

Smart city initiatives are one of the most important developments worldwide in public sector digital transformation. Given the crucial role that cities will play in both overall digitization efforts and the development of national economies, the Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide quantifies this opportunity in the top 15 smart city use cases. 

What makes a city smart?

The Smart Cities Council promotes three core values:

  • Livability: Cities that provide clean, healthy living conditions without pollution and congestion. With a digital infrastructure that makes city services instantly and conveniently available anytime, anywhere.
  • Workability: Cities that provide the enabling infrastructure — energy, connectivity, computing, essential services — to compete globally for high-quality jobs.
  • Sustainability: Cities that provide services without stealing from future generations.

We (Urban SDK) often add to this list, Measurability to understand the why decisions should be made to impact livability, workability, and sustainability.

Why does innovation matter to public leaders?

Influential cities are developing the right mix of factors such as business activity, human capital, information exchange, political engagement, and cultural experiences that help organizations and people to thrive.

While not every city is globally influential, the adoption of urban innovation can create new economic and socioeconomic opportunities for developing data driven solutions to community issues, quality of life research, energy sustainability and asset investments.

On the demand side, people are moving to cities to look for jobs and a better quality of life. More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas and it’s projected to rise to two thirds by the middle of the century. Rapid urbanization led to big problems like pollution, traffic and crime. These all create demand for smart cities solutions.

On the supply side, access to cheap devices and broadband has connected more than half of the world’s population. Add sensors and cameras and we have billions of devices sharing data--the so called internet of things.

Connected communities and cheap storage paved the way for the platform revolution--we work, learn, and play on platforms that get better as they get bigger (network effect). 

Where does artificial intelligence help?

AI is not a silver bullet. It requires community data to be indexed, studied, and analyzed by public leaders and civil engineers first. Models must be trained to interpret and automate analysis for decision making or taking action first. How can a smarter community begin to think about AI impact? A few examples:

  • Emergency Routing - AI can support emergency services to automate re-routing of vehicle routes for the fastest path to an incident or real-time evacuation updates
  • Emergency Messaging - AI can connect multiple government systems and create emergency alerts to citizens or first responders based on automated rules and triggers
  • Population Growth - AI can help model, analyze, and predict the impact of your community sustainability based on population growth
  • System Connectivity - connect multiple disparate systems to think as one system
  • Public Communication - Manage public communication through signals, signage, email, sms and connected vehicles
  • Predictive Comparison - compare investment opportunities and support decision making

Automated Intelligence will support the next generation of civil engineering and community planning.

We the city of the future will be developed over the next several years, influential global cities like New York, Paris, Singapore, and London are leading the way int he adoption of AI and smart city technologies. Initiatives will continue to focus on increasing business opportunities, governmental efficiencies, and enhancing cultural activities to improve the quality of life for residents, increase the ease of doing business, and attract more investment and attention from global companies.

Related Blogs

Sign up for a demo & data trial

Sign up to access a trial account and demo with our team.