In this society where the futurist does not cause so much interest – perhaps out of boredom or the abuse of scenes of flying cars – the closer visionary is valued more, to the one who knows how to understand the keys to transformation in the short term, the one who example understood that a mobile had to be simple, with a single button and touch, or that said that the coffee capsules made sense.
It is for this reason that a practical vision of cities in the future must be understood as something tangible in the short term that integrates the differential elements of society.
There is no doubt, and this differential element is not technology, nor data, nor the blockchain… It is the citizen and his social interaction. Without the participation of citizens, there will be no movement towards the “smart city”, but with the participation of citizens, the future can be approached and accelerated. Below I describe what cities would look like from a citizen’s point of view in about five years, enough time to see the differences from now on and maintain the connection to reality.
And in 2025, as reflected in the recent publication of the Smarter Cities report 2025: Building a Sustainable Business and Financing Plan, there will be a consolidation of the Smart City concept, where the main evolutions will be integrated in the cities and where they will be enjoyed. better cities to live. This report, with a clear focus on the economy, focuses on the business case and return on investment in the “smart city” that has been a pending piece to analyze in the puzzle to date.
The role of the citizen and social interaction
Starting from this citizen and trying to see the perspective of what a city will look like in 2025, an interdisciplinary group of professionals have worked under the storytelling methodology to project the vision of the cities of the future.
And, of course, this vision can not begin in any other way than with the citizen, with a citizen who need not be said to be in a process of empowerment, because it will already be a fact; and it is that it will play a much more active role in the city, it will make decisions about design, services, or even about infrastructures. Likewise, this citizen of 2025 will be involved in communities through which he will carry out activities and strengthen this empowerment. Cities may be larger or smaller, more dispersed or more vertical, but what is clear is that they will have to be cities that have the capacity to respond to the needs of citizens.
Electric, digital and interconnected mobility
In this city of the short-term future, where services, infrastructure, equipment, etc. evolve and change, mobility will be key. In this sense, mobility is the movement of people and goods around a city. In cities where electric and sustainable mobility will have evolved a lot, where vehicle sharing will be highly internalized and integrated, where public transport will have evolved technically and technologically, what will be the role of citizens? The citizen will have become accustomed to sharing his data, his agenda and his preferences, so that he will stop making the effort to think about how to go to the sites, and will think only where he wants to go and when he wants to be. The digital assistance of the citizen will be advanced and will facilitate the options to the citizen so that he can make the most of the time while enjoying a satisfactory and sustainable travel experience. And this digital assistance to the citizen is what will ultimately favor the improvement in the mobility of cities, the reduction of traffic, emissions and stress. An example of the future that can be seen today are the projects launched by Ferrovial, such as the WONDO mobility platform or the ZITY carsharing service…
Greener, energetically self-sufficient cities
Cities will continue to concentrate many inhabitants this century, all studies indicate this trend, and the key that this is possible and sustainable is that cities do not bring energy, but generate it and tend towards self-sustainability. And this can happen when the citizen is given a role, a fundamental role, that of being aware of the energy generated by their own home, for example, with photovoltaic panels, being able to consume this generated energy or put it in favor of the city.
This balance, this active role and this empowerment of the citizen is what will generate green cities. And very similar will be with waste, as the concept of recycling will have evolved to one of “zero waste”, especially thanks to having made it easier for citizens to be part of the benefits of recycling and of adequate assistance in the waste classification or, better said, products.
The future will be digital. Citizens will look for experiences
In this vision, the digitalization at a global level is a fact and will affect us in most of the day-to-day interactions, leading us to change customs such as carrying the keys of the house thanks to smart locks. This will affect most of the activities we do, for example, in the interaction with a gym machine, which will recognize us and adapt according to our characteristics and the level of objective activity we need. This digitalization will be the one that will create new connections between citizens and create new communities by hobbies, common interests, activities, these communities that will give consistency to the empowerment of the citizen.
This will occur because what the citizen will be looking for is to have experiences, carry out activities for a customized and particularized user experience, so that the citizen will think more about what kind of experience he wants to receive when he travels, to a restaurant or when doing a certain activity. The user experience will be the fundamental element on which to build and offer customized services and activities to each citizen, to each community. This is already happening, when taking as a reference of a hotel or restaurant the experience that previous users have shared.
Security, a cornerstone for cities
And you can not leave aside in this vision of cities a fundamental pillar and necessary condition for citizens: security. The citizen will be willing to share personal and personal data if a security is returned in the broadest possible cybernetic and physical sense, with the cities where the citizen will have the maximum guarantees of security. Being in your safe city will be like being “at home”. And to this safe city will be added the Health and Wellbeing of the citizens, which will go from being an optional subject to an indispensable subject.
To finish, these cities with predictive mobility, self-sustainable and without waste, in which the community and empowered citizens take advantage of the virtues of digitalization and claim experiences obtaining safety and health, will be measured in a new way, by means of an indicator that brings together that Citizen’s sensation and that responds to “here I am fine”. There are several elements related to this phrase such as relationships, welfare, economic capacity, available activities, health, etc., and that in this short-term future we will be able to measure it from each citizen and each city and summarize it in one concept: happiness. This happiness will be, therefore, an indicator of the places where we live and where we would like to live.