7 trends that will define smart cities in 2020
That’s going to help galvanize and accelerate the market for cost-effective technologies for electrification for heat and hot water and you’ll start to see retrofits come in and new developments that start to use those as well.
More cities will also consider turning to electrification in the coming year as they understand the long-term cost benefits. PG&E, for example, is expected to have major increases in gas prices by 2020.
4. City dwellers will demand stronger data privacy
One of the most widely-watched city data privacy debates in 2019 was with Sidewalk Labs’ proposed Quayside project. The futuristic smart city received some of its strongest criticism due to concerns over data privacy, and eventually promised not to sell personal data or leverage it for advertising
As cities increase their abilities to use and target data, concerns and demands for data protection will surely grow. In fact, a new smart region consortium in the Greater Phoenix area, “The Connective,” is building its smart region with that very concern top of mind. One common concern and point of feedback the group initially received was about the importance of data privacy and a desire to ensure that information provided to cities is protected, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council Chris Camacho told Smart Cities Dive.
5. Cities will crack down on
The past year was also marked by a number of
New Orleans was the latest city to fall prey to a cyberattack, declaring a state of emergency after 7,000 terabytes of data were compromised, forcing 4,000 computers and 400 servers to be recovered. The past year was also rough on Florida cities. Naples, Lake City, Riviera Beach and Key Biscayne all had their systems attacked. Lake City and Riviera Beach also notably made the decision to pay their ransoms — $462,000 and $600,000, respectively.
In an effort to get ahead of the problem, a bipartisan bill was introduced in April 2019 to establish a grant program with the Department of Homeland Security that would help states develop cyber resilience measures. Virginia also recently decided to take action by developing a framework to safeguard data in its cities. And in July, over 225 mayors agreed to a U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution not to pay ransom
6. Mobility hubs and car-free zones will be more widely considered
Major strides were made to discourage car use in 2019, particularly by eliminating cars in some of cities’ busiest areas. London, for example, planned a car-free day smack dab in the city center. And the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors approved a plan to ban cars along the downtown area of Market Street, encouraging biking and bus trips instead. New York recently banned cars on 14th Street in Manhattan for a dedicated “busway,” and Washington, DC is even exploring a car-free zone.
Mobility hubs also became a tool for cities to encourage their residents to get out of their cars and onto bikes, buses, scooters or even their feet. Minneapolis launched
7. The climate wakeup call for greener (and bigger) investments will grow
The summer of 2019 was a “wakeup call” for many cities, according to Bloomberg Associates’ Adam Freed.
The extreme heat forced leaders to recognize the “need to correct the catastrophe of urban planning over the past century that has turned our cities into ovens and focus on ways to provide urban cooling that doesn’t increase our air conditioning load,” he said.
As a result of the extreme heat and other weather conditions, there should be a proliferation of green investing in 2020. House Democrats recently introduced legislation to create a National Climate Bank that would use public funding to support clean energy projects throughout the U.S. The bank could mobilize up to $1 trillion and would initially be funded with $35 billion.
Those types of investments would be essential support for cities in the coming year due to the high initial cost of clean energy projects. And while the national bank is unlikely to become law under the Trump administration, it still points to the growing prevalence of climate banks and green investment needs in the coming year.
Extreme weather has also helped put equity issues like the urban heat island effect into sharper focus for some cities, which should only continue in 2020. These issues could also help reinforce a proliferation of green investing with an equity lens.
“People are really waking up to equity as an issue for these investments,” Community Building and TOD Administrator at the City and County of Honolulu Harrison Rue told Smart Cities Dive. Making investments with an equity lens can improve lives, he said.
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