Smart cities cover a wide range of fields, and different countries have various visions and priorities for smart cities based on their conditions. Here are a few examples from Barcelona, Spain and Seoul, Korea to show the different focus of development between Eastern and Western countries.
Barcelona—When Tourist Attractions Meet Technology
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain. To improve the infrastructure in Poblenou, the municipality launched an urban renewal project in 2000. The first stage of construction focused on infrastructure, such as solar energy equipment, smart meters, and fiber-optic networks. In the second stage, the infrastructure was combined with innovation, where software and hardware were upgraded through wireless sensing technology and data analysis. Because of this, energy and resource are put into more efficient utilization.
In 2009, the municipality launched a project for urban infrastructure integration, installing various sensors on street lamps to collect environmental data such as temperature, humidity, and pollution levels to monitor the environment and keep it clean.
Barcelona also participated in the GrowSmarter program under EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The program aimed at promoting 12 smart solutions, such as reducing energy consumption, integrating infrastructure and urban transportation. These projects all served as guidelines for the development of smart cities.
Building a Smart City with Information Technology—Seoul
In 2006, South Korea’s Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) approved the U-Korea Master Plan, using the latest technologies such as DMB, Telematics, and RFID to provide residents with smart technology without the limit of time and space.
Later on, MIC launched the “Ubiquitous City”（U-City） initiative as a smart city strategy nationwide. The project aimed at increasing urban competitiveness in cities including Seoul, Busan, and New Songdo City in Incheon.
In 2011, Seoul launched the Smart Seoul 2015 project, using ICT technology while establishing a good relationship between the city and its residents. Smart Seoul 2015 aimed at making Seoul a global ICT leader to show that urban sustainability and competitiveness can be achieved through smart technologies.
The convenience of city life is every resident’s dream. The examples of Barcelona and Seoul show the infinite innovation of smart cities, and people are expecting more new technologies in the future to make people’s dream come true.