During the coronavirus outbreak in Amsterdam, city leaders took steps to help citizens at risk of isolation due to lockdown measures. As part of the city's "Everyone Connected" project, an ecosystem comprised of local technologists and civil society groups cooperated to deliver refurbished laptops with Internet connectivity to low-income, elderly and other citizens with below-average digital access. This is an example of a local ecosystem responding to an urgent situation that threatened to exacerbate digital and social exclusion. Smart city ecosystems are vital in implementing sustainable solutions and responding to a crisis.
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What is a smart city and how is it different from our traditional notion of a city? There is no single definition for a smart city. The term itself is a moving target and every city is different.
That said, here are 10 ideas that can help us envision and define the smart city concept:
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Blockchain is a hot topic. Until very recently, it was associated almost exclusively with cryptocurrency - bitcoin, ethereum etc. However, the power of blockchain to revolutionize the way we exchange goods and services, and transform how we govern - above and beyond the cryptocurrency hype - is increasingly being recognized. When it comes to cities, the transformative potential of this technology is enormous. From enabling P2P energy-sharing systems, as in New York’s ‘Transactive Grid’, which allows local residents to generate, buy and sell their own solar energy, to encouraging behavioral change - for instance through SocialCoin’s blockchain and AI-based ‘social good’ currency (see e.g. the Citibeats solution) - and much more - blockchain is offering new opportunities to create more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable communities. As such, blockchain is likely to be an increasingly central enabler of smart city innovation worldwide. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of blockchain in an urban context.