Introduction By2050, the population living in major cities will increase by two folds (Goi,2017), resulting in an urban sprawl. With the increasing population, there isan uncontrollable growth to urbanareas bringing rise to the issues of population growth, transportation, andurban design. A smart sustainable city aims to create a sustainable livingenvironment through the use of technology. With the majority of Canada’s population being in thereproductive and post-reproductive age group, most people can drive and havethe need to commute somewhere resulting in an increasing amount of cars on theroad, thus needing the creation of new and more environmentally friendlytransportation systems such as Hyperloop, moving walkways, and self-driving andautonomous cars. It is predicted that 66% of the world’s population will livein urban areas by 2050 (Walden, 2015), smart cities are becoming increasinglypopular for urban designing as the Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly drawing theattention of city planners, engineers and architects to help create sustainablecities. With urbanizationincreasing worldwide, technological innovation and the development of smart citiesis crucial to delivering sustainable cities for the future.
Defininga Sustainable City and the Role of BusinessesThe United Nations (UN) sustainability cityprogram defines a sustainable city as “one that is able to retain the supplyof natural resources while achieving economic physical, and social progress,and remaining safe against the environmental risks that can undermine anydevelopment achievement” (Hassan & Lee, 2014). One of the biggestdevelopment challenges in the 21st century has been managing urbanareas. A major factor of the post-2015 UN development agenda is the success orfailure of building sustainable cities (Scruggs, 2015). A sustainable city means “development that meets the needs ofthe present without compromising the ability of future generations to meettheir own needs” (Goi, 2017). A sustainable city involves development thatmeets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of futuregenerations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable development encompasses allaspects of environmental stewardship, social development, and economicprogress. According to Hassan& Lee (2014), the three major pillars for sustainabilityare economic, social, and environmental dimensions. The comprehensivesustainable object is the maintain a balance between the three pillars to beable to achieve urban sustainability. Scruggs (2015) notes that “the best practices and policy implications are amongseven aspects of urbanization: density, land use and spatial planning;mobility; resilience regarding natural hazards; energy for cities; solid-wastemanagement; resource-efficient buildings; and water and agriculture”. Theproblems and issues that arise from urbanization presents the greatestopportunity and responsibilities for businesses in the private sector.
Businesses are constantly trying to become more socially responsible with theirinitiatives contributing to their financial, environment and social performance(Chandler, 2017). Businesses are uniquely positioned to shape the sustainableand economically competitive cities of the future and can plan out theirstrategic design making. For example, Google’s company, Alphabet, is creating asmart city in Toronto, Telsa is creating self-driving cars and Elon Muskcontinuously lays out grounds for innovation such as the Hyperloop. Transportation Within dense urban conditions propertransportation infrastructure is a key ingredient to economic and socialdevelopment. The transport system is a key issue when trying todevelop a more sustainable city due to the high population. Although there arealternatives to driving cars such as taking the bus or train, there needs to bean efficient and flexibletransport system as it is essential for a future of low carbon transportsystem. There are alsocurrently mobile applications such as Waze and HopStop to update commuters aboutpublic transit and traffic congestion in real time, and bike-sharing programsare helping urban dwellers get around with ease (Walden, 2017).
Forms of high-speed transportationare becoming closer to a reality, such as how in 2012, Elon Musk, founder of PayPal,Tesla, and SpaceX, unveiled his idea for Hyperloop, a new transportationsystem. The plans were laid out to cut the transit time between L.A and SanFrancisco to just 30 minutes.
Hyperloop would become a “system of high speedtubes that transported passengers and cars in aluminum at speeds of up to 760miles an hour” (Smith, 2013). The Hyperloop would transport passengers and carsin seal capsules that travel through steel tubes at high, but subsonic speed. TheHyperloop is also a safer alternative to transporting goods compared to trainsor trucks, offering a new form of commercial transportation. Urban areas require safe, fast,energy-efficient public transportation in order to provide sustainable livingconditions. However, many cities do not have the resources or space to providerobust public transit systems, such as subways. Another mode of transportationthat can be implemented into a sustainable city are moving walkways. Typicallylocated only within airports, moving walkways have served a minor role intransportation. Commuters can use the moving walkways in replacement of subwaysand short distance bus rides.
Without moving walkways, urban dwellers suffernegative effects of congestion, pollution, and the loss of time andproductivity. In the context of a city with high density, economic prosperity,and amenable below-grade conditions, a subway system may be configured toprovide near optimal primary means to transport the highest numbers of peopleat the quickest possible speed (Rockwood& Garmire, 2015). City planners are accounting for theInternet of Things (IoT), the potential for automated cars and a sharedeconomy. Self-drivingwill only be truly effective in change the whole transportant system in thefuture and become the new norm if they are able to replace all current existingcars.
Advantages of self-driving cars include how traffic accidents wouldvirtually be eliminated and fuel costs would be reduced. With self-driving cars,in the future, people do not need to own cars anymore because they can justcall a self-driving car to come pick you up. Self-driving cars allow elders whocan no longer drive, people with physical disabilities and impairments be ableto conveniently be taken anywhere without endangering the road.
There are multipleways that driverless cars can save energy and emission gas with Telsa’s self-drivingand autonomous cars. The possibility of routeoptimization to save energy in powering the car and more fuel-efficientacceleration and braking are just a few of the potential advantages (Timperley,2016). Meanwhile, autonomous carsalso connected to each other via smart technology and the Internet of Things(IoT), offering changes for traffic flow optimized, increased safety byeliminating human error. These advantages can lead to relaxed regulations whichallow lighter cars to be made (Timperley, 2016). Fewer cars will be neededoverall as autonomous cars offers the potential of radical new ownership modelswhich can lead to “rightsizing”. This is where users can “changethe particular car used depending on their journey that day — someone who needsa hatchback a few times a year for family trips simply could order one whenneeded and use a one-person mini-car for the daily commute” (Timperley, 2016).
Similar to the concept ofUber, people would just call the car to come pick them up, with a sharedownership, the single car can make multiple trips for multiple people in a day.In a world ofzero-emission cars and perfectly optimized traffic flow, increased car use mightseem more acceptable, but the reality of future roads may look a lot different.Smart Cities It is important to focus on how technologicalinnovations will be the key to delivering a sustainable future with urban areascontaining the increasing majority of the population. There has been a shiftfrom sustainability assessment to smart-city goals and combining them to createsmart sustainable cities. As the possibilities for the Internet of Things (IoT)in an urban environment are nearly becoming limitless to become a sharingeconomy, businesses are imagining a world with smart street lamps, smartsidewalks, they way we building highways or parking lots, and even smart sewagesystems. The ultimate goal for these businesses is to be able build a city whereall of the infrastructure is streamlined using smart technology (Walden,2017). As businesses are pairing the shared economy with the Internet of Things(IoT), public spaces such as sidewalks, parks, and recreational areas are alsoutilizing technology to make city life easier and more efficient.
Urban spacesare now being transformed into a way of assembling a city as the urbanenvironment is now an interaction between social content, political content andenergy consumption. However,the development of a smart city is not only dependent on technology, itrequires the combination of smart governance, smart businesses, and smartcitizens to run the smart city effectively. For example, CitySwipe is a mobileapplication that presents local residents with images of potential scenariosand simple yes/no questions.
Questions that CitySwipe ask are about attitudestowards walking, bike lanes, housing, and beyong. For example, a fairly basicquestions would be: a photo of some street art appears with a caption asking”Do you want more of this?” or “Which do you prefer?” (Wainwright, 2017). Evidently, it takes smart citizensto help build a smart city as they are encouraged toswipe through the options and help consult and give feedback on the future ofbuilding their city. These types of application help the stakeholders ofresidents, planners, developers, and businesses alike. Anexample of a smart city that will be built in the future is the Queens Quay neighborhoodon the Toronto Waterfront. Sidewalk Labs, a division of Alphabet, Google’sparent company, has signed a deal with the city and will invest $50 million todevote urban innovation to demonstrate how data driven technology can improvethe quality of city life (Bozikovic,2017).
“Sidewalk Toronto” is a combination of technology and urbanism and willrepresent North America’s largest example of the smartcity. The urban district will be “built around information technology and usesdata – about traffic, noise, air quality and the performance of systems includingtrash bins and the electrical grid – to guide its operation” (Bozikovic, 2017). Within the area, privatecars will be banned, and the streets would be served by autonomous vehicles andfreight robots moving in underground tunnels.
Traffic will be managed by intelligentsignals and pedestrian-friendly streets, and buildings will be designed to behighly flexible and constructed using modular units that are produced nearby (Bozikovic, 2017). The homes will become aradical mix with offices, retail, residence, and maker spaces. Theses buildingswill be linked by an energy system that “would reduce the district’s energyconsumption by 95 per cent below city regulations. Sidewalk believes that theirrole is “to create the conditions for others to innovate on top of” (Bozikovic, 2017). This new smart city on Quayside is meant to improve thequality of life with sensors and cameras to collect data on the traffic andenvironment.
The dataitself will be open for people to use and access in creating a more sustainablecity. Quayside can solve many of the city’s issues including affordable housing(Kerr, 2017).A portion of housing units in Quayside will be”affordable,” subsidized homes that would allow Quayside’s populationto “reflect the socioeconomic diversity” (Kerr,2017).Conclusion Businesses,government, and residents are working together to combat the issues ofpopulation growth, transportation, and urban design in creating moresustainable cities using technological innovations. Hyperloop, the new form offuture hyper speed tube transportation eliminates the need for trains and tocarry passengers and commercial goods to reduce emission gasses in theenvironment.
Moving walkways will allow pedestrians to walk the distance thatthey would usually take the subway or bus for, and self-driving electric cars willcreate for shared ownership so there are less cars travelling. Moreover,companies such as Sidewalk are creating developing devices and processes,streamlining the infrastructure of the city. However, there are concerns ofwhich stakeholder owns the intellectual property and if competitors have accessto the platform. Self-drivingtaxibots and buses will be transportation backbone of the neighborhood.
Sidewalk proposes”taxibots” as the transportation backbone of the neighborhood as theyare successful contribute to their corporate social responsibility with thissmart city.