Cities have been pioneering the use of new technology to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and improve energy efficiency. Smart cities have adopted various forms of cutting-edge digital solutions to improve services in all departments while reducing energy use. Now, as the fight against climate change intensifies, they will have to embrace even bigger change.
According to "Ecosystem Strategy for Smart Cities: Building a Sustainability Advantage," a report by Guidehouse Insights, smart cities’ strategies to become more sustainable are evolving. The report examines the smart city market’s challenges and evolving ecosystem strategies. It highlights the evolution of sustainable city strategies, including accelerators and inhibitors.
According to Guidehouse, cities have played an integral role in fighting global climate change. Many cities have plans to be carbon neutral or zero-carbon by the year 2050. These are laudable objectives, but they impose new challenges for the cities that pursue them.
Cities will have to adopt new approaches to urban infrastructures and services to meet these goals. Those new approaches will entail new energy systems, building and transportation technologies, and digital tools. They will also require new platforms that enable collaboration between city departments, businesses and citizens in this all-encompassing effort to reach zero carbon emissions.
According to Guidehouse, many cities have embraced broad frameworks for meeting the climate challenge, like the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a number of targets related to sustainable cities and renewable energy. In an effort to reduce emissions, many cities are also striving to become 15-minute cities. Pioneered by Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, the urban planning concept describes a city where its inhabitants can meet most of their immediate needs within a 15-minute drive, walk or ride.