Smart Cities for a Happier Urban Future

How these companies are using tech to improve the quality of life in cities

Over 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. This number is expected to rise to almost 70% by 2050 according to the UN.

How we deal with this increase is crucial for creating a sustainable planet.

Traffic congestion, air pollution, lack of water and safety is already a problem in many cities.
People moving to urban areas are demanding a higher quality of life. At the same time we need to take measures to reduce our CO2 emissions.

This is why the smart city movement is important.

A smart city aims to solve issues like pollution in urban areas, by using technology, such as Internet of Things (IOT) sensors to collect data. This information can then be used to make predictions through Artificial Intelligence (AI), to allow for faster and efficient decision making.

These technologies can be applied across a variety of areas like improving the quality of our air, improving mobility around the city, waste management and building better houses.

But how is this actually implemented in the real world?

We found three interesting startups that are designing better cities using technology, so you can better imagine this:

Spacemaker AI

Picture: Kevin Bosc

Spacemaker is focussing on addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
The construction industry is struggling to keep up with the need for building faster and stronger. At the same time they need to focus on building sustainable urban environments.
Spacemaker’s AI technology aims to help with this issue. With their product, real estate developers, architects and municipalities are able to get connected and find ways to maximise the potential of building sites.
It allows them to collaborate with each other, make better and faster decisions, and therefore build better. Read more about what Spacemaker is doing here.

Green City Solutions

Picture: Green City Solution

90% of people living in cities are breathing in polluted air everyday. Green City solutions is tackling the issue of air pollution with their IOT Technology.

Their main product is the ‘city tree’ which is a bio tech filter that can improve the quality of air around it.

Photo via Green City Solutions

The mosses in the tree are able to bind toxins from the environment. Meanwhile the sensors collect information in real time about the status of the city tree. This data is displayed on a dashboard to identify how it’s improving the environment around it and how it can be better maintained.
Imagine having several trees like this all around the city you live in! It would not only make the air cleaner, but also add a touch of nature to our surroundings, making us feel happier and calmer.

Woodoo - augmented wood

Picture: Woodoo - augmented wood

Woodoo blends nature and technology to contribute to building our smart cities of the future. How?
They have developed a material through a unique process that makes the wood 3x stronger than traditional wood and can therefore be used for the construction of high rise buildings for example.
Their aim is to contribute to drastically cutting the 2.5 billions tons of CO2 that the building industry is spilling into the air each year.
Because concrete is the most destructive material on earth, we are in need of alternatives for the construction of our homes.

We have only scratched the surface with what’s possible. In the next few years the smart city movement will grow bigger and become increasingly more important.
With that growth, it’s essential for us to find creative solutions that make our cities cleaner, faster, safer and healthier. This will be key in helping us become happy citizens in the future.

By Katharina Alf