Smart Cities – A Brave New World

Innovation and technology are transforming the urban environment. The information age is upon us and whole industries, indeed economies, are adapting to reflect this. Within the construction industry, this is particularly evident through the emerging concept and reality of smart cities.

About Smart Cities

Smart cities represent an evolving idea and ideology to create a truly sustainable urban environment. They are not designed to be governed in the traditional ‘top down’ way. Instead, they bring officials and citizens together through the strategic use of technology. This is made possible through the internet.

By gathering data from electronic devices and various forms of information and communication technology, it becomes possible to manage a city more efficiently using the insights that are gained. This approach is both interactive and highly automated. It reduces running costs and helps fuel growth and development in a sustainable way. Communities are empowered and become valuable stakeholders who are able to influence the management of their city through the data they contribute. There is a strong sense of cohesion and as more data is gathered, it becomes increasingly possible to optimize the performance of the city’s infrastructure and services. This filters down into many aspects of a citizen’s everyday life. Transportation systems can be monitored and improved, emergency response times are reduced and all manner of public services can be made more user-friendly.

Neom, a brand new mega-city spanning 10,230 square miles. That’s 33 times the size of New York!

Neom: The world’s most ambitious project

Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of this new vision with the proposed construction of Neom, a brand new mega-city spanning 10,230 square miles. That’s 33 times the size of New York! Neom will encompass all the core values of a state of the art smart city, with a strong focus on economic progress and taking care of its citizens. The city will be an independent zone with its own governmental framework. It promises to attract massive investment and innovation, creating a truly sustainable economic model. Just imagine a highly automated city with focus on a strong economy, built around advanced manufacturing, sustainable energy, biotech, and the best food & entertainment in the world. Thanks to solar and wind power, the city aims to be entirely zero-energy; a self-sufficient metropolis. The ambition and magnitude of Neom has captured the imagination of the world and places Saudi Arabia firmly at the forefront of the smart cities agenda.

Smart Cities and the Construction Industry

The construction industry is adapting faster than ever before as new technology is seemingly around every corner. Smart cities bring these technological advancements together and provide a clear direction for the future. At the center of it all is information and communication technology. It’s now possible for project team members to collaborate more efficiently using smart devices and mobile applications. Management strategies can be effectively implemented remotely and stakeholders are able to access data and maintain an ongoing interest more easily.

Additionally, the sustainability agenda has been gaining momentum for some time now. It’s becoming fully integrated into the processes, materials and overall management of construction projects. It’s reached the heart of the industry, fueling decision making and strategy. The concept of the smart city epitomizes this shift and provides a blueprint for the future of urban environments. The construction industry will need to continue to evolve and adapt accordingly.

The Future

Now more than ever, societies the world over are embracing a new model for growth, both economically and socially. The need for sustainable development is being recognized at the highest level and technological advancements are opening new doors and helping make this vision a reality. Sustainable urban environments such as smart cities are at the heart of this global revolution. It’s an exciting time for the construction industry and nowhere more so than in Saudi Arabia.