Cities have revolutionized the way we live. They offer access to clean water, electricity, public transportation and the internet, hence the improvement of the lives of millions of people all over the world. Nevertheless, not all is good. Cities can also be a great source of contamination, carrying smog and other toxins in the air and potentially affecting the health of the people exposed to it.
In response to the alarming levels of pollution, Paris decided to take the initiative and partner with French incubator NUMA to develop a solution to many environmental problems that damage the health of its citizens. The three organizations decided to accomplish this Herculean task by creating the DataCity Program, an initiative that invited businesses to develop innovating data-based solutions tackling pollution and waste issues in the city of Paris using new technologies as well as private and public data sets.
In its first edition in 2015, the program enabled a 10% energy savings from Paris’ annual street lighting costs by regulating light intensity during times of little traffic. This solution not only brought monetary benefits but also allowed lower emissions of potentially harming greenhouse gases in the city.
Other ideas from the first edition also included on-demand buses in the city of Paris using crowdsourcing and simulation technologies, as well as many more challenges motivating businesses to come up with smart solutions to reduce the public energy consumption.
This fall 2017, the new and now international DataCity program will take place one more time. After partnering with the Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), a network of 91 cities, the program has expanded rapidly. This new edition hopes to gather more information to resolve the environmental issues affecting our planet. City leaders and high-tech innovators will collaborate to bring new solutions to the sustainability and environmental issues that modern society faces. The program hopes to revolutionize the industries of transportation, construction, logistics and energy to reduce their environmental footprint and make the future greener.
Like Paris, many other cities are also looking to reduce their pollution levels, and many initiatives have already been made. The mayor of London has already expressed his desire to implement a “zero emissions” transportation system in the city by the year 2050. In Kansas City, Cisco Smart+Connected, a digital platform, now gathers information from sensors and open data portals from all over the city to enable the optimization of different procedures and allow the sustainability of the town’s resources.
It is evident that cities are aiming to become more and more efficient at energy consumption as well as waste management to ensure a green future for all its citizens, reducing health concerns and ensuring long-term sustainability. A new active approach to current pollution practices that brings new hope for our environment.