Although cities account for only two per cent of global land area, they are responsible for more than 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 60-80 per cent of global energy consumption. Recognizing the sustainability challenges that cities are facing and the consequent need to revolutionize the way that they function, the emergence of the concept of a ‘smart city’ envisages the integration of ‘smart’ technologies into cities so as to increase efficiency while protecting the wellbeing of the environment and inhabitants.
It is estimated that 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, making it essential that cities innovate to meet the challenges of the 21st century. And, with challenges increasing in line with population growth, achieving sustainable development remains atop the list of priorities.
The ITU-T Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities (FG SSC) provides an open platform for smart-city stakeholders – such as municipalities; academic and research institutes; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and ICT organizations, industry forums and consortia – to strengthen means of leveraging information and communication technologies (ICTs) in building sustainable urban environments and identifying the standardized frameworks needed to support the integration of ICT services in cities.
With this in mind FG SSC has developed a proposal for an ITU definition of ‘smart sustainable city’ and is working assiduously on Technical Reports to provide a basis for smart-city standardization work in ITU-T Study Groups.
FG SSC places high value on diversity of opinion and encourages the participation of a wide range of public- and private-sector interests and is thus inviting comments on the proposed definition and the content of six Technical Reports under development.
30 April is the deadline for comments on the proposed ITU definition, which, in its current form, reads as follows:
“A smart sustainable city uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) to provide enhanced quality of life to its citizens, improved efficiency of services and sustainable development. Such a city meets the needs of today without sacrificing the needs of future generations with respect to economic, social and environmental aspects”.
Technical reports on the “Overview of SSC and the Role of ICT” and “Definitions and Attributes of a Smart Sustainable City” seek to provide information on the form and purpose of a smart sustainable city and the role of ICTs in its development. 8 April is the deadline for comments and contributions on these two fundamental reports.
8 April is also the deadline for contributions to “ICT Infrastructure for Climate Change Adaptation in Cities”, a report that strives to highlight the many areas in which cities will have to adapt in response to climate change as well as how ICTs can facilitate such adaptation.
A report on “Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Cyber-resilience in Smart Sustainable Cities” – inviting comments and contributions until 7 April – addresses the need for ICT-dependent smart sustainable cities to safeguard service continuity, and thus the wellbeing of citizens and businesses, by fortifying their defences against cyber threats.
Water and sewage systems are critical to city dwellers’ health and the productivity of cities at large. A report on “Smart Water Management for Smart Sustainable Cities” that draws attention to how ICTs can alleviate urban water management challenges will accept comments and contributions until 16 April.
A report on “Stakeholders for Smart Sustainable Cities”, inviting further input until 24 April, analyses the respective roles and responsibilities of the broad range of actors set to contribute to the realization of smart sustainable cities.
At the kind invitation of the Municipality of Genoa, an ITU Forum on “The city we want: smart and sustainable” will be held in Genoa, Italy, 18 June 2014, and will be followed at the same venue by the fifth meeting of FG-SSC, 19-20 June 2014. All are invited to attend and, if you share our determination to enable a sustainable future, I can assure you that you will be coming to the right place.
Please send your comments via email to FG SSC Secretariat (email@example.com).
For more information on FG-SSC and the range of ITU-T activities on ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change, please contact Cristina Bueti, Advisor of ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and climate change).
Photo by Emile Séguin