The real and the virtual world are getting closer together. This is shown by the first fully networked cities, where intelligent technologies take on more and more tasks. The most blatant drawing board city originates in South Korea.
City on the wire – so you could call the Canadian community Stratford, which is located approximately in the middle between the Huron and Lake Ontario. All buildings are connected by broadband fiber optic cables to each other and to public facilities such as libraries or the town hall. The network is something like the electronic backbone of the 30,000-inhabitant city. It should not only simplify administration and thus save scarce resources, but also relieve the burden on the environment. “We have paperless offices in the administration, so fewer trees need to fall, and smart meters in homes should help reduce our greenhouse gas footprint,” said Mayor Dan Mathieson.
Stratford also has Canada’s first online high school. At her, reports Mathieson proudly, including the pop star and teenage swarm Justin Bieber studied. Meanwhile, a new, fully wired commercial area was built. “Our goal is to create a new type of knowledge worker who can handle and evolve with the new information technologies,” says Mathieson. “When we look at our neighboring city 15 kilometers away, we look back 15 years into the past. But we took good care of the modern technologies in good time. ”
Old industries have no chance – what comes after them?
This opens up a view into the urban future, which is increasingly determined by increasingly intelligent technologies. But Stratford is not alone. On the way there are two other Canadian cities have made: Kitchener, which forms a kind of twin community with the university town of Waterloo, and the 500 000-inhabitant city of Hamilton, which is idyllically located at the western end of Lake Ontario.
There, the computer science expert Maria McChesney works as a municipal IT director. “Cities are reinventing themselves because old industries are disappearing,” she says. “The services are increasing. In Hamilton we focus on education especially in medicine. With our infrastructure, we want to keep the colleges in the city, and they should lay the groundwork for innovation. “Hamilton relies less on cable than on wireless Wi-Fi data transmission. Thus, the outlying districts, but also individual farms can be integrated into the network. “That’s how we give the children the same opportunities there,” says McChesney.
Beautiful new world: save money and save lives at the same time
The economic benefits of networking are illustrated by the example of Kitchener. “We combined all the city’s functions and services in one center to save money,” says City Councilor Berry Vrbanovic. “The fire departmentis one of them, as well as the other emergency services. In the field, they are connected to the control center via smartphones. “Outpatient clinics can transfer patient data directly to the hospital on the go, enabling physicians to prepare for the case. Vrbanovic: “This not only saves money, it also saves lives.”
It also covers water supply and sanitation, the yard, street lighting and urban buildings, as well as public transport, telecommunications, schools, sports facilities and social facilities. “Essentially, Kitchener could be controlled with a tablet computer,” concludes Vrbanovic.