Last stories on 'Sustainability and environment'
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Jürgen Schmidt
3 days ago
Jürgen Schmidt
Smart Consultant

In 1900, just 15% of the world’s population lived in cities. Now that proportion is over 50%, which is a lot of people. In fact, it means around 4 billion human beings rely on urban infrastructure to keep them warm, mobile and clean.

Technology helps with this of course. Digital sensors, smart phones and smart home appliances allow for a new kind of understanding between citizens and city officials. In this so-called “smart city”, information and communication technologies (ICT) and the internet of things (IoT) are used to enhance city living. Smart cities are a major part of achieving the goal set by the United Nations of making urban environments “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

Water infrastructure is often overlooked when smart cities are considered or discussed. This seems strange when water services are so crucial for human health and well-being. But water is often seen as an “invisible utility” which is taken for granted. The industry has also been slow to harness the power of new technology.

One thing is certain though – water should be a key element of the smart city concept. And there are two major ways in which smart water technologies will be coming soon to a city near you.

Jürgen Schmidt
last week
Jürgen Schmidt
Smart Consultant

When reexamined decades later, predictions about how the future will look almost always miss the most important changes

Mid-century writers often discussed flying cars and massive space settlements, but how many predicted mobile phones? Still, some trends are clear, and few would argue that smart technology is going to play an increasing, and perhaps even dominating, role in our cities’ futures. Will these trends lead to better quality of life? What are the potential downsides?

LABCITIES
last week
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Smart projects typically inspire urban visions: connected skyrises, autonomous vehicles, high-tech transport. And while these are important elements to consider when it comes to urban planning for a city, there’s also a side that can benefit from smart solutions—nature. Islands such as Menorca in the Spanish Balearic archipelago are looking to smart ways to “reduce human pressure and environmental impact.”

The UNESCO-declared Biosphere Reserve of Menorca is currently home to 12 electric charging points, yet only 2 percent of the island’s vehicles are electric or hybrid. This is the first issue the island is looking to tackle in order to promote sustainability and boost electric mobility, reducing its carbon footprint through renewable energy strategies. With the help of Nissan, the Spanish island is getting the smart boost it needs to put action for electric mobility into place so human activity and nature can coexist.

Jean-Paul Rouge
last week
Jean-Paul Rouge
Independent professional

Environmental technology is breaking out of its shell and transforming into what is becoming today’s new buzzword: sustaintech, a combination of cleantech and smarttech.

What does the emergence of sustaintech mean? It signals that we are witnessing how disruptive innovations are breaking down the long-standing status quo of sustainability originating from the cleantech sector. Essentially, the crossing point between sustainability and IoT is bringing disruptive technologies to the table, and this new megatrend is turning both investors’ and entrepreneurs’ heads.

Sustaintech, short for sustainable technology, is technology that provides environmental and social value and helps advance a better future for humanity. It leverages intelligent technology and has a high degree of internet-integration to reduce environmental impact and enhance efficiency and resource productivity.

Over the past 20 years, the sustainability market has gone through three phases — envirotech, cleantech and sustaintech. The first stage, envirotech, saw companies focus on sectors like environmental protection, which is policy-driven, CAPEX-intensive, and relies on rapid growth to achieve better economies of scale. The second stage is when innovation took over as a driver, producing high-value and CAPEX-efficient companies — cleantech. The third and current stage, sustaintech, is demand-driven, with disruptive innovation in both technology and business model.

LABCITIES
2 weeks ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

As with most tech, it appears local authorities have found money for sensing systems because they want air-quality data, very often because they’re legally required to monitor it. Fair enough, and many of those sensors can also help spot traffic buildups. But it could be argued that the best use of the resulting data, indeed perhaps the only valid reason to do it, is so you know where to start to improve air quality.

Apart from fixed sources like factories, this largely means a change of behaviour around cars and trucks: getting engines switched off at idle, using low carbon last-mile delivery systems like electric vans or bike couriers, and most importantly leaving cars at the city edge or at home altogether. People are busy and don’t easily acquire new habits, so people only change – start using an app, riding a bus or cycling – when they know their options and are motivated to change.

So in my view, for cities that want a step-change in car traffic and emissions, it becomes cr...

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