A report issued by the World Economic Forum presents 10 of the best examples from around the world of how cities are creating innovative solutions to a variety of problems. Many of these solutions are scalable, replicable and can be adapted to a variety of specific urban environments. Some are possible only due to new technologies while others apply technology to ideas that are as old as the city itself.
The top 10 innovations
- (Digitally) Re-Programmable Space
- Waternet: An Internet of Pipes
- Adopt a Tree through Your Social Network
- Augmented Humans: The Next Generation of Mobility
- Co-Co-Co: Co-generating, Co-heating, Co-cooling
- The Sharing City: Unleashing Spare Capacity
- Medellin Revisited: Infrastructure for Social Integration
- Smart Array: Intelligent Street Poles as a Platform for Urban Sensing
- Urban Farming: Vertical Vegetables
The above mentioned innovations reveal four principles that can be seen as a core framework to find
innovative solutions to complex urban problems:
- Unleashing spare capacity: Many innovations cleverly make use of existing yet underutilized resources. Airbnb, for example, enables the renting out of unused private homes; co-locating schools and recreational facilities enables public-private sharing of space; and the circular economy provides opportunities to reuse, recycle and upcycle.
- Cutting out the peaks: From electricity and water to roads and public transport, upwards of 20% of capacity sits idle for much of the time ready to cope with demand peaks; cutting out these peaks with technology-enabled demand management or innovative pricing structures can significantly limit the burden on financial and natural resources.
- Small-scale infrastructure thinking: Cities will always need large-infrastructure projects, but sometimes small-scale infrastructure ‘“ from cycle lanes and bike sharing to the planting of trees for climate change adaptation ‘“ can also have a big impact on an urban area.
- People-centred innovation: The best way to improve a city is by mobilizing its citizens. From smart traffic lights to garbage taxes, innovations in technology, services and governance are not ends in themselves but means to shape the behaviour and improve the lives of the city’ s inhabitants. All innovations should be centred on the citizen, adhering to the principles of universal design and usable by people of all ages and abilities.
Via: Smart Cities Council