When we travel we generally think about the sights we’ll see, the family and friends we’ll spend time with and the break we’ll finally have from the ins and outs of hectic day-to-day life. Seldom do we consider the smarts behind the operation of any given city we may visit, but perhaps we should.
IBM developed a program called Smarter Cities. Based on the idea that all cities are systems within systems, and cities around the world are constantly growing, becoming more intelligent and interconnected, the Smarter Cities program gives them the opportunity to connect those systems to create a safer, more efficient society.
New York is known for its bright lights and dramatic personality, but it has also taken great steps to keep its residents safe. By implementing this new “smart” program, the NYPD (the largest police department in the U.S.) is now able to effectively redeploy resources in response to crime patterns and trends, which allows them to solve crimes and capture criminals faster. This keeps the city’s nearly 19 million citizens, which includes 37,000 police officers, safer.
Los Angeles boasts the top spot in the United States for having the most Energy Star-certified buildings. Energy use by commercial buildings contributes up to 20% of the emitted green house gases in the U.S., which costs up to a whopping $100 billion per year to operate. Energy Star-certified buildings use 35% less energy and emit 35% less carbon dioxide than the average building. This reduces operation cost and allows for a cleaner, healthier environment in which to live and work.
Boston, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California were ranked as the top two innovative cities in the world in 2011, based on a comprehensive annual study conducted by the Innovation Cities Program. There are 31 segments and 162 individual indicators used to calculate these findings, which can be lumped into three main areas: Cultural Assets, Human Infrastructure and Networked Markets.
Boston claimed its global number one ranking based on its dominant institutions Harvard and MIT, current business and strengthening start-ups and its arts network. It is a city that lends itself most to innovation in science, product development, process, business, service, policy and other types of innovative ventures. Its residents can enjoy a perfect balance in both livability and opportunity.
Honolulu, Hawaii was named the city with the highest quality of living in the U.S. (ranked 29th in the world), according to a survey conducted by Mercer in 2011. Its citizens benefit from overall stability and wealth of public services and recreational provisions, making it a very attractive destination.
Our country has quite a few smart cities, some with global recognition not only for quality of living and innovation, but as examples for other cities striving to rise to the same standards. When you think of these cities, consider what it takes to keep them running and marvel not only at what’s on the outside, but what is at work on the inside as well.
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