Monday, November 14, 2011

So will the intelligent city of the future

In 2007 the number of people living in cities surpassed for the first time the inhabitants of rural areas. A century ago there were only 16 towns with more than one million inhabitants. Currently there are 450 cities with more than one million people in the world . In fact, every week a million people move to an urban area. And, last but not least, it is estimated that 75% of the world's energy currently consumed in cities, and urban buildings consume 42% of all energy generated in the planet. In addition, their roads have traffic jams cost 1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Europe.
These staggering figures, displayed in Malaga yesterday before the congressional hearing EmTech Spain organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Reviewy Technology magazine, leave no doubt: it is urgent to renew cities, cities turn them into "smart" ( smart cities, in English) and sustainable. In this sense, Ryan Chin, research group Smart Cities at the MIT Media Lab, has concluded that the low energy efficiency, traffic, the use is carried out of urban land and dioxide emissions carbon are the main problems of the XXI century cities.
To solve leads the development of a new scheme called Mobility on Demand (Mobility to the Charter) to allow future users to move around the city "freely" through a network of electric vehicles , lightweight and stackable, the CityCars, which can be used simply collects in the charging stations, and circulate in the city at a maximum speed of 50 km / h. This will also avoid parking problems, more serious than we usually think of when you consider that " 40% of the gasoline used in urban areas is consumed while parked "as Chin points out, in favor of removing vehicles.
Scientists at MIT MediLab have begun a collaboration with the business consortium Hikiro, Bilbao / Vitoria, to make the first Citycar in Spanish industries. "In 2012 we will have 20 prototypes , the concept car will be integrated into the ecosystem, "Chin said yesterday.

Housing and cities monitored
If vehicles will play a key role in future cities are not less important houses. " People should live and work in the same city, we must think of each city as an autonomous body , "said Chin. From this point of view, at MIT are developing CityHome, a house that is customizable, equipped with modules that become convertible in living room, bedroom, hall, office or gym, according to the needs of the moment. In addition, the MIT Media Lab buildings conceived for the future incorporate a "dispenser" of electric vehicles, urban farms to self-sufficiency in fruit and vegetables, etc..
For its part, IBM is focusing its efforts in monitoring, as explained Juan Antonio Zufiria, chief executive of the company in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel. Among the success stories, highlighting Zufiria management systems intelligent traffic are implemented in Stockholm, reducing congestion by 20%. Or the case of Singapore, where he has made ​​"buses have as much accuracy
as the trains. " As for urban safety, Zufiria mentioned the case of Richmond, five years ago was the fifth most dangerous city in U.S., and in the last two years has risen to the position 99 in the list by monitoring.


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