100 Smart Cities


The Indian government will develop 100 Smart Cities in the next 15 years. The current urbanization level is around 31% accounting for 60% of India’s GDP. The urbanization level is expected to grow rapidly in the coming 15 years and hence the Indian Government developed an ambitious plan to develop plans for these ‘engines of economic growth’ using the latest principles for sustainable urban development and new technologies. Accordingly, the current thinking is that 100 cities to be developed as Smart Cities may be chosen from amongst the following:

  • One satellite city of each of the cities with a population of 4 million people or more – 9 cities
  • All the cities in the population range of 1 – 4 million people – 44 cities
  • All State Capitals, even if they have a population of less than one million – 17 cities
  • Cities of tourist and religious importance – 10 cities
  • Cities in the 0.5 to 1.0 million population range – 20 cities
  • In Delhi, a new smart city through the land pooling scheme has been proposed

More than one and a half year ago the Indian government already launched the initiative. At that moment in time the ‘100 Smart Cities’ plan was conceived as a mere technological approach to the city. The Note on Smart Cities that is to be found on the website of the Indian government now takes a much broader and interesting approach. Summarised ‘Smart’ is being defined as providing basic infrastructure and services, resilient and attractive urban patterns, quick and transparent planning processes and new technologies. In a sense the ‘100 Smart Cities’ strategy is upscaling the ‘pilot project’ hundred fold in order to generate a real and lasting effect on a broad range of cities across the country. Learning from these examples and all the new brainpower that this ‘grande project’ attracts should equip local governments with the right tools and guiding principles to cope with the rapid urbanisation in the country.
Picture: Martin Roemers

Smart Citizen

“What are the real levels of air pollution around your home or business? and what about noise pollution? and humidity? Now imagine that you could know them, share instantly and compare with other places in your city, in real time … How could this information help to improve our environment quality?” Smart Citizen wants to answer to these questions and many more, through the development of low-cost sensors. Smart Citizen claims that you can only build a real Smart City with Smart Citizens, and that’s true.
By connecting data, people and knowledge Smart Citizen creates a platform to generate participatory processes of people in cities. A fine grain network of sensors can monitor microclimatic behaviour in cities. This could create possibilities to measure the impact of interventions in the living environment.
Source: http://smartcitizen.me

Digital Matatus

“Digital Matatus shows how to leverage the ubiquitous nature of cellphone technology in developing countries to collect data for essental infrastructure, give it out freely and in the process spur innovation and improved services for citizens. Conceived out of collaboration between Kenyan and American universities and the technology sector in Nairobi, this project captured transit data for Nairobi, developed mobile routing applications and designed a new transit map for the city. The data, maps and apps are free and available to the public, transforming the way people navigate and think about their transportation system.”

Source: www.digitalmatatus.com

Open Data Initiative

Client: Rijkswaterstaat Year: 2013
Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch department of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment responsible for the safety and maintenance of the Dutch national infrastructure works on the Open Data Initiative of the current cabinet. SmartCityStudio assists in the analyses of opportunities of the large body of data that exists within the organisation and advises on what steps to take to create innovative applications from datasets with third parties. To achieve this the raw data should first be ‘cleaned up’ and made accessible. SmartCityStudio assists in the conceptual thinking around a paradigm shift – from thinking in hardware to thinking in software – within Rijkswaterstaat. This in order to create opportunities for among others Smart Traffic Management, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), Mass Evacuation Software and Water Management.

Shared Electric Car Network

Paris has been wired with a shared electric car network: Autolib’. Modelled after the successful Velib’ bike-sharing program Autolib’ has won over 70.000 clients since its launch in 2011. The program combines a sharing concept with an easy-to-use internet platform, an urban transit strategy and clean fuel technology. It fuses low tech and high tech, people and the city in one system. Although SmartCityStudio is very positive about the distribution and amount of stations implemented in the metropolitan area of Ile-de-France, this new urban ecology has not only been cheered. The criticasters somehow surprisingly come from the green party in Paris according to the Chicago Tribune:

“Conservatives intially attacked Autolib as a vanity project of the Socialists who control the Paris city hall, but have toned down their criticism as the scheme’s popularity has grown. …But Greens fear the 1,800-strong fleet may be drawing Parisians away from public transport rather than from their gas and diesel-powered cars…The Greens, who voted against Autolib while remaining part of Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe’s majority, have asked for an audit on the scheme’s finances and its impact on traffic. “We remain very sceptical on Autolib,” said Denis Baupin, Green MP for Paris and transport councillor until last year.

As opposed to this criticism Autolib’s backers make some bold claims, according to the Chicago Tribune: “The project, they say, is breaking down social and physical barriers between the two million inhabitants of affluent central Paris and the other eight million who live in the “banlieues”, the often neglected high-rise suburbs outside the “peripherique” ring road. “There was a time when Parisians thought the banlieues were where they sent their rubbish and built council blocks or cemeteries,” Paris transport councillor Julien Bargeton said. “That relationship is changing, and Autolib shows that,” he told Reuters, estimating that about a third of all trips in the electric cars take place between Paris and its outskirts.”

Some information on the system itself. It is a public private partnership. The French Bollore Group invested in the fleet of Italian designed cars (Pininfarina) and spends 50 million euro’s annually to keep the fleet running. The City of Paris has invested 35 million in the charging points. As a customer you can choose between a yearly subscription (144 euro’s and 5 euro per half an hour), a monthly subscription (30 euro’s, 6 euro per half an hour), a weekly subscription (15 euro’s, 7 euro’s per half an hour) and a one day subscription (10 euro’s and 7 euro’s per half an hour). A total of 1750 cars has been registered in January 2013 and the Bollore Group’s goal is to deploy 3000 cars by 2013. By February 2013 the fleet had 65.000 subscribers and has driven a total cumulative of 15 million kilometer. There are over 650 charging stations in around 50 municipalities in the area of Ile-the-France with over 4000 charging points. The Bollore Company plans to expand the system on a short notice in Bordeaux and Lyon.

Sources: Wikipedia, Chicago Tribune, Paris, Autolib. Picture: Mairie de Paris

Canvas of Light

According to Vivid Sydney: “Sydney will once again be transformed into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas when Vivid Sydney takes over the city after dark from 24 May – 10 June 2013. Colouring the city with creativity and inspiration, Vivid Sydney highlights include the hugely popular immersive light installations and projections; performances from local and international musicians at Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House and the Vivid Ideas Exchange featuring public talks and debates from leading global creative thinkers.”

New South Wales Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner officially opened the fifth annual Vivid Sydney festival by lighting the sails of the Sydney Opera House to unveil a stunning visual feast of colour, movement and lighting artistry, with 3D-mapped light projections. The greatly expanded Vivid Sydney this year includes the lighting of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the transformation of the Darling Harbour into a water theatre.
“The Vivid Light footprint has tripled in size and for the first time Sydney’s Harbour Bridge will come alive with a spectacular installation created through a collaboration between Vivid partner Intel Australia and Sydney’s 32 Hundred Lighting, with support from North Sydney Council, in an interactive programmable lighting installation on the bridge’s western face, controlled by the public from a touch screen located on the Luna Park boardwalk.
With a record number of applications to be part of Vivid Light, one-third of all light installations are from overseas artists, demonstrating the unique platform Vivid Sydney offers to engage with the best of the global creative economy and foster international business opportunities. “Vivid Sydney is where technology, commerce and art intersect—delivering real business outcomes. With 37 per cent of Australia’s creative industries located in NSW, supporting creative industries through events like Vivid Sydney is key to the NSW Government’s strategy to grow the NSW economy,” Mr Stoner said.
“In 2012 Vivid Sydney attracted more than 500,000 spectators and we anticipate numbers will reach well over 550,000 in 2013, injecting around $10 million in new money into the NSW economy.”
Have look at the timelapse video that shows the Canvas of Light that has been projected on the Sydney Opera House: [vimeo vimeo.com/66892937 w=600&h=450]

Sources: Vivid Sydney Picture: The Guardian Video: Vivid Sydney

Airborne Wind Power

Recently Google purchased Makani Power, a start-up that developes Airborne Wind Power turbines. Airborne Power could be an attractive and powerful alternative for wind turbines. Ever more the installation of wind turbines around cities causes discussions about their visual and environmental impact. The ‘kites’ of Makani might offer a solution. According to Makani its “Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) can create inexpensive energy, in more locations than traditional wind turbines, because it flies where the wind is stronger and more consistent.” “The Makani AWT:

  • Produces power at up to half the cost of traditional wind turbines
  • Accesses the stronger and more consistent winds at altitude
  • 90% less material than a conventional turbine, it is less expensive to build and install
  • Opens up large new areas of wind resource, including the vast resources offshore above deep water
  • Allows for deployment outside of visually or environmentally sensitive locations”

“A graphic illustrating turbine size from 1995-2015, which shows that although wind turbines have grown tremendously in rated output over the past decade, conventional turbine technology has a long way to go to reach the same resource as even first generation AWTs. (Source: Lance, Wiser, Hand. IEA Wind Task 26: The Past and Future Cost of Wind Energy, NREL TP-6A20-53510, 2012; Makani estimates)”

Source and pictures: Makani Power

Intelligent Street Lighting

According to the University of Technology in Delft (TU Delft): “TU Delft is testing an intelligent street lighting system on its campus, which uses up to 80% less electricity than the current systems and is also cheaper to maintain. The system consists of street lights with LED lighting, motion sensors and wireless communication. This enables the installation to dim the lights when there are no cars, cyclists or pedestrians in the vicinity. Wireless communication between the street lights and a control room is also possible. The system was developed by alumnus Management of Technology Chintan Shah, who won a competition in 2010 with this concept for improving energy efficiency on the university campus.”

“Shah’s system consists of electronic gear that can be added to any – dimmable – street light. The system comprises street lights with LED lighting, motion sensors and wireless communication. At first glance, it looks a lot like a widely available type of garden light with a motion sensor, but there are significant differences. In Shah’s system, all surrounding street lights light up if anyone approaches. And the lights never go out completely; they are dimmed to approx. 20% of the standard power. Passers-by move in a safe circle of light as it were. An added bonus is the fact that the lights automatically communicate any failures to the control room. This makes maintenance cheaper and more efficient than it is now.” Source: TUDelft, Picture: Bristol Rising 

Smart car parking

At the 19th Intelligent Transportation Systems Congress in Vienna in October last year Smart Car Parking has been presented as a way to lessen traffic congestion in the city.

According to itsworldcongress.com: “Siemens and Streetline, Inc. have launched the first of its kind smart parking project in the city of Braunschweig, Germany to provide parking relief to residents and local businesses.  The project is locally-led by BELLIS, a public-private partnership from Siemens AG and the Braunschweiger Versorgungs AG & Co. KG (BS | ENERGY). The advanced parking technology monitors parking space availability, distributes real time parking information to Streetline’s free “Parker” smartphone app, and tracks parking patterns and habits to help City officials better manage parking throughout the City. This is the first advanced parking project implemented jointly by Siemens and Streetline in Europe. The announcement was made from the Intelligent Transportation World Congress being held this week in Vienna, Austria.”

“The City of Braunschweig has approved installation of parking sensors and networking equipment to monitor real time data in designated parking locations throughout Kurst-Schumacher-Str, Nimes-Str and Tauben-Str. “Parker” by Streetline provides drivers with the location and general availability of parking spaces, shows the amount of parking time remaining, and allows users to pay for parking via their mobile phone where available. The advanced parking project will also provide a platform for DLR (German Aerospace Center) to do ongoing research on parking infrastructure and services, as part of their Transportation and Mobility portfolio.”
“One major factor contributing to city traffic congestion is motorists searching for parking,” said Hauke Juergensen, CEO Intelligent Traffic Systems, Siemens. “This modern technology from Streetline provides motorists an easier, more efficient way to find an available parking spot and provides the City of Braunschweig a cost-effective way to improve quality of life in their town in a time when city budgets have never been tighter.”

Clean fuel strategy

According to a European press release at the 24th of January: “The European Commission announced an ambitious package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use. Policy initiatives so far have mostly addressed the actual fuels and vehicles, without considering fuels distribution. Efforts to provide incentives have been un-co-ordinated and insufficient.

Clean fuel is being held back by three main barriers: the high cost of vehicles, a low level of consumer acceptance, and the lack of recharging and refuelling stations. It is a vicious circle. Refuelling stations are not being built because there are not enough vehicles. Vehicles are not sold at competitive prices because there is not enough demand. Consumers do not buy the vehicles because they are expensive and the stations are not there. The Commission is therefore proposing a package of binding targets on Member States for a minimum level of infrastructure for clean fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas, as well as common EU wide standards for equipment needed.

EC Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said. “Developing innovative and alternative fuels is an obvious way to make Europe’s economy more resource efficient, to reduce our overdependence on oil and develop a transport industry which is ready to respond to the demands of the 21st century. Between them, China and the US plan to have more than 6 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020. This is major opportunity for Europe to establish a strong position in a fast growing global market.”

The clean fuel strategy is committed to various clean fuels ranging from electricity to hydrogen. This post focuses only on the ambition for electric vehicles.

……”Electricity: the situation for electric charging points varies greatly across the EU. The leading countries are Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Under this proposal a minimum number of recharging points, using a common plug will be required for each Member State (see table attached). The aim is to put in place a critical mass of charging points so that companies will mass produce the cars at reasonable prices. A common EU wide plug is an essential element for the roll out of this fuel. To end uncertainty in the market, today the Commission has announced the use of the “Type 2” plug as the common standard for the whole of Europe.

Smart bike parking

Last week Prorail, in charge of Dutch rail, presented a revolutionary system that should put an end to the chaos around train stations caused by bicycles. Previous trials in Utrecht, Groningen and Zutphen show that the system creates thirty percent more space.

The bicycle parking system works by using switches built into the bike racks. When a bicycle in a rack is inserted it is determined by a computer. On large screens is shown how many places are still available. The administrator of the bicycle parking can also see how long a bike has been parked. If it is longer than the allowed period, he has the right to remove the bike. This smart parking should put an end to the estimated 60,000 so-called abandoned bicycles that nationwide are parked around stations. These are bikes that will never be retrieved, but they claim 15 percent of the storage spaces available. Previous experiments in Utrecht, Groningen, Zutphen show that the system delivers 30 percent more space. Not only due to the removal of all abandoned bicycles. The available space is also effectively used. Travelers have an overview of the amount of places still available. Now, though only 90 percent occupied, travelers think the parking is full. With the introduction of the new system it is easier to utilize the parking for the full 100%.

Pavement lighting









According to Organic Green Roots: ‘photoluminescent Core Glow pebbles provide an interesting, almost ethereal feature to outdoor design. When the eco-friendly pebbles are exposed to light sources, (solar or otherwise) the special light capturing pigment within them becomes chemically excited and will ‘glow’ once that light source is removed. The luminescent material is a multi-activated, highly efficient powder cultivated from the earth, that enables light-storing with a long afterglow.

When added to a concrete driveway and exposed to the sun, the pebbles will store enough energy to illuminate a dark pathway all night long, initially very radiant, then slowly dissipating as dawn arrives. With only 10-20 minutes of exposure to daylight or lamplight, the pebbles can maintain their afterglow for about 10-12 hours.

The CORE Glow pebbles are non-radioactive, non-toxic and environmentally friendly. They can be implemented in a variety of  landscaping,  custom concrete or masonry needs. The material is a inert long lasting recyclable plastic but are also available in a recycled glass.  Both last an average of 20 years.

So what makes them glow? A chemical element called Strontium aluminate; and an activator, Europium is added – this causes a chemical reaction, creating the glow. The material is biologically and chemically inert, so completely safe for home use.

These pebbles are primarily an esthetic element that can add a new layer to hardscape designs but certain applications will help to greatly reduce pathway lighting costs. Since the CORE Glow products require no electricity, no power supply and no batteries they saves natural resources and offer an alternative to traditional pathway lighting.’

Waste collection on the water

According to the Dutch newspaper NRC innercity cargo transport by boats is the future. In the historic towncentres of the Randstad congestion is an everlasting problem. These historic centres have once been designed for transport by foot, horse and… on the water. Small scale cargotransport on the finegrain network of historic canals in the innercities is a Smart alternative for regular distribution with too big trucks in the congested towncentres. The city of Utrecht sets the example. In 1996 it already started with a municipal ‘beerboat’ to deliver drinks at restaurants and bars along the ‘Oude Gracht’. Now there is also a boat for waste collection and a new beerboat on electric power. So no innercity noise anymore. The waste collection boat has a crane to transport waste bins from the quai to the boat. The industrial design for the waste bins on wheels should actually be improved, because the small wheels cause difficulties on the cobbled innercity roads. The advantage of the wasteboat is the reduction of congestion, CO2 and fine dust. The boat seems to be slow, but is much quicker than transport by truck. Utrecht aims on the expansion of the fleet. The city is working on a full electric powered city distribution system. Their ‘cargohoppers’, small electric vehicles which with a tail of ‘wagons’, are the alternative for the truck. These heavy trucks demolish the pavement in the historic city centres. The political support of the whole project is there, because it combines clean, silent and energy efficient alternatives.

The above is a summary of an article in the Dutch newspaper NRC: “Afval- en bierboten tegen de files”, October 20th, 2012.

Smart energy production

This movie on Smart energy production in the new town of Almere promotes the development of community driven energy production. It is part of a quintet of strategies for Smart City Almere which could turn Almere into an independent city with a vibrant urban economy. With this it will create conditions for 100.000 jobs to flourish. To do this the city adopts a new attitude towards planning and will liberate itself from a culture of control by creating conditions for others to do the job.

The movie on Smart energy production was part of ‘Almere’s Liberation’, one of the projects which was on show at the last Architecture Biënnale in Rotterdam. These ‘five liberations’ have been published on the internet today. The concepts and the movie are made by Zandbelt&vandenBerg, architecture and urban design and commissioned by the International Architecture Biënnale Rotterdam, Atelier Making Projects.

Have a look at http://www.youtube.com/user/smartcitystudio for the other Smart City strategies for Almere


Green facades

Green facades could offer many advantages for Smart Cities. Green facades add to the thermal insulation behaviour of buildings, to the biodiversity in the city, the quality of public space and reduction of air pollution; fine dust and carbondioxide. This adds to the idea of the ‘healthy city’. There are two types of green facades. Living wall systems and walls which consist of creepers or hanging plants. The first is an irrigated system of growing panels in which plants literally grow. The latter is a facade or a mesh along which creepers of hanging plants can grow. In north western Europe most green facades have a webbased irrigation system which monitors climate conditions in order to coordinate irrigation. With temperatures below zero degrees Celsius the irrigation system empties itself.

Climate Street

According to Amsterdam Smart City: “Together with entrepreneurs … the Utrechtsestraat, is transformed into a sustainable shopping street where innovative technologies are tested. …A group of 40 enthusiastic entrepreneurs have been selected as the frontrunners group. They all actively want to participate in making the Utrechtsestraat area more sustainable. The frontrunner group is closely involved in the project and act as test team and soundboard of the various sustainable initiatives. Also, a base measurement has been carried out, mapping out the current situation in the street concerning CO2 and NO2. This base measurement serves as a starting point for the introduction of the various solutions.  Sustainable initiatives in the Climatestreet:

1. Entrepreneurs:
– Carrying out of energy scans, mapping out the saving potential of the entrepreneur in the areas of lighting, heating and cooling inside the shop/restaurant
– Implementation of Smart meters that measure energy consumption and can be connected to energy-saving appliances
– Energy display providing feedback on energy consumption and giving personal energy-saving tips based on the information provided by the smart meter
– Smart Plugs that automatically dim or shut down un-used appliances and lights

2. Public space:
– Integrated sustainable street lighting using energy saving lamps that can be dimmed during quiet times at night
– Tram stops that are provided with energy saving lighting with minimal environmental impact from production to recycling. The lights installed at tram stops are solar powered
– Solar-powered BigBelly waste bins with built-in garbage compacters, allowing the bins to be emptied five times less frequently
– Reverse Osmosis water column on a central location that limits the miles that cleaning vehicles have to drive to refill

3. Logistics:
– Waste is collected using electric vehicles from a single provider, minimizing CO2 emissions
– Optimization of logistical processes through clustering

1000 Raingardens

Sendai Oasis – 1000 Rain Gardens, Tohoku University, Japan wins the Smart Cities Award at the Dutch Archtitecture Biënnale in Rotterdam.
According to the Netherlands Architecture Institute: “this project examines alternatives for the design of the city of Sendai, Japan, following the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. In order to protect residents against extreme temperatures (heat islands) and from the effects of heavy rainfall, the Tohoku University proposes a network of small ‘rain gardens’. This network will provide a sustainable solution for water recycling and create green public spaces in the city. The jury was very impressed by the completeness of this plan, the whole seems to have a significantly larger impact than its individual parts.”

The Tohoku University which has been immediately rebuilt after the earthquake has a testgarden at the faculty terrain. According to the website of Sendai Oasis: “Creating a Sustainable City based on its Water System, Aobayama Rain Garden (ARG) proposes a multi-environmental control device that originally functions for the recovery of rain water, Infiltration areas and groundwater replenishment, thus acting as an effective environmental device linking the Keywords of Low-carbon society, Heat Island control, Energy recycling, Bio-diversity and Disaster aid spot with Emergency water supply. BY using ITC networks, real time monitoring is possible for all the data such as storage water levels, wind velocity related to thermal comfort index and green energy consumption degree via smart meters.”