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Smart cities, healthy cities, and sustainable cities are all terms that have become intertwined and interchangeable and are desired outcomes for the future of urban centers.

All of the subsystems that exist in a city need to work together and integrate, to create a smart city. Energy efficient transportation, communication, and clean energy are just some of the parts that form a healthy city.

Is this realistic? Fortunately, yes. The web page on the upcoming Smart Cities India 2017 Expo for example, explains some key factors in smart cities, that India is set to accomplish. A smart environment, smart buildings, smart urban planning and smart IT and communications are some critical elements that make up a successful smart city.

How can urban settings make the transformation to a smart city? Here are the 5 most important steps cities can realistically follow today:

Choose Clean Energy

Replace environmental pollutants with renewable energy (solar, wind, electric transportation) for a smart city that thrives on clean energy. Clean energy combined with smart grids will not only make a city greener eco-friendly and sustainable, but also more independent, with all the advantages linked to it. A certain number of cities have already taken that route and committed to go fully renewable within 20 years, leading the way and gathering the experience and learnings that all other cities can benefit from.

Improve Mass Transit

Part of creating a healthy city is reducing air pollution. The latter is largely stemming from too many cars on the roads, idling in traffic jams. By upgrading mass transit and infrastructure, as well as public transportation, it will help reduce traffic on the roads and reduce some pollution. With energy efficient public transit, it promotes a healthy environment for communities in busy urban centers.

Invest in Digital Health

Digital health provides people with the opportunity to take an active role in their healthcare through digital applications. By having the option to monitor their health at home with digital monitoring devices, for example, time spent at the hospital can be reduced, and hospitals visits reduced. This is a win-win situation for both hospitals and patients. The technology is sophisticated enough to transmit the information over the internet, while also allowing patients to stay on top of their health. As digital health becomes part of the smart city, it will help facilitate other digital health options for patients.

Implement IoT

The Internet of Things encompasses many elements that make up a smart city. From digital bus stops that display bus schedules in real time, to garbage bins fitted with sensors to track trash levels, to city-wide sensors that track noise, and environmental pollution. These have all been done and can be implemented to help form a smart city. These are just a fraction of the improvements that can be made through IoT, since a smart city, or a healthy city must be interconnected. IoT can link all the necessary elements of a smart city together through technology into a unique platform, improving efficiency and breaking the silos. Many solutions exist out there to start leveraging IoT. BreezoMeter’s city solutions are included in the major smart city IoT platforms, with Current powered by GE for instance, or Cisco.

Monitor Air Pollution

The Smart City Air Challenge, recently launched by the Environmental Protection Agency, has intensified the coverage and boosted the awareness about the importance of air quality analysis through their wide-scale competition. The challenge is aimed at communities that can show their level of leadership and knowledge in formulating a plan to implement, and manage hundreds of air quality sensors at the local level. Demonstrating the ability to also analyze, distribute and share that data will be a huge part of the challenge. This further emphasizes that accurate air pollution monitoring is another key element of a healthy, smart city.

As the smart city becomes the norm, future generations will be guaranteed to have a healthy, and sustainable city that is interconnected, data driven and highly functional and efficient.

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