The future of cities 3

Information sharing and cooperation key to building sustainable cities

The future challenges are to establish durable platforms and integrate systems that will contribute to more sustainable and attractive cities, writes Carl-Johan Koivisto, Director and Head of New Business Initiatives at Saab.

Today, half of the world’s population lives in cities and almost 90 per cent of the growth to 2030 will occur in urban areas. Many of the future challenges facing us will occur in urban spaces and solutions need to be found by a wide consortia including decision-makers, industry and civil society.

The infrastructure of a city is connected and relies on strategic flows such as traffic, electricity and telecommunications to work. By analysing these flows, threats for a sustainable environment can be discovered and avoided. By taking advantage of the best technology we can find solutions today for future challenges. These include innovation, growth, reducing energy consumption, decreasing environmental impact and creating an attractive city.

Attractive cities attract, develop, maintain and sustain a variety of societal flows, through efficient, secure and transparent city operations and with a citizen-centric focus. In parallel, it should contribute to reduced environmental impact in the short term and a CO² neutral society in the long term.

Saab is working actively to reduce the impact on the environment and climate. Our core business is our broad product and service portfolio for military defence and civil security. We develop, adapt and continuously improve new technologies to meet our customers’ needs – technologies that contribute to secure, sustainable social development.

Many of our planet’s resources are finite, which means that we must economise with these resources and create a sustainable society. We want our technological knowledge and competence to be utilised in creating a sustainable globe. 

Big cities need to think smart. When we started to develop a concept for making cities more attractive we asked two crucial questions: How can cities coordinate and manage sustainable growth and how can the cities become more transparent towards citizens in that process? We identified an increased need for the measuring of various flows in a city and to learn from the results. Many cities either lack systems or work with ageing systems.

Efficient measuring is a key to efficient decision-making, and efficient decision-making is a key to a sustainable development. Saab has developed a City Cooperation Centre concept – a decision support centre for cities. The City Cooperation Centre (CCC) is built on open architecture and should take advantage of available open data. The CCC is a platform for decision-making. Key-words in the process are decision support, sharing information and cooperation.

Through the CCC, Saab can support urban governance, for example, by creating platforms for dialogue with the city’s inhabitants. Based on vertical solutions with real time sensor data and other available data we can contribute with horizontal decision support platforms. Another area where Saab could be used successfully is in using the best sensor technology to discover changes in water quality – water is indeed one of the cities most strategic flows. 

Saab is now, together with the Swedish Energy Agency and with the Inter-American Development Bank, building full scale demonstrators in the Swedish city of Linköping and in the city of João Pessoa in Brazil. We start a demo in Linköping this year and in Brazilian João Pessoa we will start a pre-study this autumn.

Neither the attractive city concept nor the CCC will develop on its own. It needs thorough investments and partnerships. The European Union long-term budget for 2014-2020, as well as programs such as Horizon 2020 are important tools for new innovative thinking. Additionally, other public and private investments are of course needed.

For Saab the future challenges in the CCC initiative is to establish durable platforms and integrate systems that will contribute to more sustainable and attractive cities. We start in two cities the coming year and are looking forward to being able to spread the concept to more cities in the years to come.

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.

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