The Future of Connected and Sustainable Cities
Cisco Systems, a leading supplier of networking equipment and network management for the Internet, launched a programme called Connected Urban Development (CUD) in 2007. It was born from Cisco’s commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative to participate in helping reduce global carbon emissions. The company pledged to invest $15 million over five years, to develop projects to reduce traffic congestion in cities in order to lower CO2 emissions and create efficiency savings for citizens and local government. Their efforts focussed initially on three cities: San Francisco, Seoul, and Amsterdam.
Cisco saw our film “Plausible Futures” and asked us to produce a short film of a similar format for to mark the launch of the CUD programme. The film looks at the challenges and opportunities facing cities, and explains how information and communications technology can help reduce the carbon footprint of urban areas in an effort to tackle climate change. Other issues addressed include energy security, transportation, urban sprawl, consumption and waste.
The film takes on a positive angle, presenting Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as an essential tool that will help deliver sustainability in the urban context. It paints a picture of ICT as a fourth utility in the urban context. The connected and sustainable city of the future will be efficient, multi-functional and liveable. Transparent information technology will monitor and track energy usage, and spot and resolve any inefficiencies or anomalies. Municipal authorities and businesses will manage water and waste flows to optimize security and quality of supply. Transport infrastructure and public transportation systems will maximize their effectiveness though improved management of real-time information flow; and ICT infrastructure will enable new ways of communication and collaboration.
The film ends with an inspiring vision of the city of tomorrow: a more multifunctional, compact city that can offer a high quality of life with a reduced environmental footprint that’s truly achievable if governments and businesses work together.