The Rise Of the Smart City

Frank Diana
3 min readMay 7, 2020

In my ongoing search for signals that point to potential futures, I both stumble upon great insight, or am made aware of it. When it’s the latter, I wrestle with how much to share. I use the value of the insight as my decision criteria, and in the case of this smart city infographic, I am compelled to share. However, this insight (and all other signals) must be viewed through the lens of the current pandemic. What, if anything, is impacted as a result of changes in human behavior? For example, will the projections of mass urbanization hold, or will fear of living in dense areas reverse that trend — essentially serving as an obstacle? Does the city revenue shortfall accelerate the march towards a Next Generation of Productivity? Does a growing appreciation for science shine a light on climate change, thereby accelerating the focus on sustainability?

I dedicated a lengthy post on the Smart City a while back. The creators of the infographic provide additional insight below.

By 2050 it’s predicted that 68% of the world’s population will live in a major city — that’s 2 in 3 people. An increase in population requires new technologies and updates to infrastructure that some cities are currently lacking. What every city is looking towards, however, is the implementation of smart technology.

Donned “ Smart Cities,” these futuristic endeavors are meant to cut costs, boost sustainability and ease infrastructural strain. By 2021, $135 trillion will be invested to ramp up the implementation of these new age metropolitan areas. All of this advancement can be credited to the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT connects city centers with their population. Generally called “smart grids,” this connectivity helps citizens and governments receive up-to-the-second information on their energy consumption — leading to optimization efforts.

For example, cities are looking at ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released by cars. London has found a way to reduce daily driving by 70 thousand people by implementing smart cameras that reduce congestion in the cities busiest spots.

Another area of interest is reducing electricity usage. San Diego has saved $250,000 per year by installing smart lights that brighten only when an object approaches them. Other cities are looking at ways to give homeowners mobile updates on their energy use and ways to reduce the amount they burn.

Safety is improving as well. Rio De Janeiro has improved EMT response times by 30% thanks to streaming video feeds that let officials know when a crime has occurred. Other countries are looking at ways to detect earthquakes early on and notify their inhabitants promptly.

Above all, investments in Smart Cities are happening with hopes of creating a safer, greener and more sustainable future (both financially and environmentally). BigRentz has broken down all the thoughts and benefits associated with Smart Cities below in a visual.

Originally published at on May 7, 2020.



Frank Diana

TCS Executive focused on the rapid evolution of society and business. Fascinated by the view of the world in the next decade and beyond