Smart City

The Essential Features That Made Smart Cities

We are all interested in technology and all it offers. That’s why we have smart phones, laptops, smart watches, etc. Major cities around the world are also using technology to ensure that there is better interaction between citizens, the government, and other utilities. But what are some of the characteristics of smart cities? Well, this article discusses the anatomy of a smart city, its benefits, and other facts.

What Is Smart City?

This is an urban area that uses the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in order to collect data that is then used to manage resources and assets in an efficient and streamlined manner. Apart from sensors, smart cities also use actuators and other forms of technology to ensure that all the components in the city are connected and working.

The Top Smart Cities in the US

The term smart city usually brings futuristic and grand scenes. From high-speed electric railway systems to autonomous buildings, smart cities are now here with us. They use innovative technology to solve problems and offer efficient services. The top smart cities in the US are:

  • San Francisco: This is a tech hub that has “geek” written all over its atmosphere.
  • New York: Also known as the Big Apple, NYC is ranked as the 2nd best smart city worldwide.
  • Pittsburgh: It’s one of the earliest smart cities in the US. Pittsburgh’s main focus has been on the use of innovative technology in the production of clean energy, transport infrastructure, and robotics.
  • Cedar Rapids: This city has been making big waves in the smart city ranking system thanks to its ideas for efficiency sustainability, and health.
  • Columbus: It’s the winner of the Smart City challenge in 2016. Columbus has laid a detailed strategy with five main goals: Sustainable transport, improved job access, smart logistics, improved commuter mobility, and better citizen services.

The Structure of a Smart City 


If you think that smart cities are found in the future then you are wrong. They are now here and they are growing rapidly as the impact of IoT takes over. This urban landscape is composed of various features which include:

Smart Cities


Transportation and Mobility

Cities of technology should have a multi-modal transportation system, smart parking, and smart traffic lights. A common problem that city dwellers have to deal with is traffic which results in congestion on highways and streets.  This not only leads to loss of lives through accidents but also increases the emission of CO2. Smart traffic lights, as well as congestion sensors, can improve traffic flow and divert vehicles when necessary. The smart parking feature is also important in showing the available parking slots to prevent drivers from idling and driving around.

Responsive Utilities

Smart cities need to have a sufficient supply of water and electricity. To prevent poor management, these cities use IoT to monitor the use of energy. This helps to minimize misuse and promote conservation of resources. An example of an IoT solution that’s effective is the smart grid system that analyzes energy consumption and effectively delivers the optimal supply which every household needs. Besides that, responsive utilities such as leak detectors can help to prevent water wastages in tanks and pipes.

Autonomous Buildings

One of the factors that’s used to use to rank the top cities in the world is buildings. Smart cities have autonomous buildings which are independently operated from various infrastructural support services which include gas grid electricity grid storm drains, municipal water systems, communication services, and sewage treatment systems among others. However, these buildings consume high amounts of energy hence there is the need for them to be installed with cooling systems that are powered with Iot.

Dynamic Infrastructure

Roads and buildings can only be stable in smart cities if they have a dynamic infrastructure. Innovate systems like the earth detector can be used to monitor structures and areas that are prone to earth tremors. This makes it easier to conveniently plan and proof their infrastructures. For instance, a smart city like Philadelphia is using IoT to ensure that there is a lower waste collection and fewer cars off the roads.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

There is an increased awareness of global warming and the sustainability of life. As a result, smart cities are trying to create an environmental harmony by using IoT to reduce the level of carbon footprint. Fortunately, there are mechanisms that have been implemented and they include buildings with greenery and weather response planning. These cities can monitor the level of CO2 in the air and other harmful airborne pollutants.

Public Engagement and Security

Smart cities are also concerned about the lives citizens hence they normally conduct public engagements to listen to their needs. There are also security systems such as CCTV cameras, Wi-Fi, and wearable devices to communicate with authorities.

Facts about Smart Cities

  • Data collection, as well as analysis, is important for predictive analysis.
  • Smart streetlights i.e. LED lights are great because they end up paying for themselves after a few years.
  • It’s estimated that there will be almost 600 smart cities worldwide by the year 2020.

Benefits of Smart Cities

These cities are designed in such a way that they significantly transform the living and work environment of the residents. All processes are streamlined, giving everyone an opportunity to live quality lives and reach their potential professionally. Key benefits of smart cities include:

  • Increased and well-balanced digital equity. Everyone has access to high-speed Internet services and the smart devices are affordable.
  • They use “big data” to make predictive analysis and effective decision making.
  • Upgraded and user-friendly digital services for better government and citizen engagement.
  • Reduced carbon footprint to tackle global warming or the greenhouse effect.
  • Safer communities and improved transport system.
  • Improved workforce engagement for enhanced productivity
  • Better infrastructure and efficient public utilities


There is no doubt that smart cities are beneficial and they make life easier. Research reports show that their number is going to increase significantly over the next coming years. The world is rapidly changing and technology is the main driving force. Smart cities change the way citizens engage with the government, how they can access public resources, where they live and work, the type of environment around them, and infrastructure among other things. Big data also plays a crucial role in the development of such cities.