Talking about Smart Cities in general is easy. We have talked about Smart Citie’s definition and concepts, but those are not a Smart City. Smart City is abstract. It needs to be surnamed so that we can touch it. Smart City is one in particular, with its history, with its culture, with its citizens. That’s why I would like to talk about the new concept of neighborhood and real new styles of life, but I am forced to land in an example and this reality is Madrid.
Despite the above mentioned, there is a clear trend in the new concept of growth. All projects now are sustainable. Even Urban Development Plans are sustainable. Madrid is supposed to have an empty house stock which will need two years to be absorbed and normalized. Then construction will be reactivated. All parameters allow us to think that construction will be also sustainable.
Although I do not like to compare, I think there is a fact that we will see repeated: smart neighborhoods. Currently, there is one in construction in Fujisawa in Japan designed by Panasonic, Accenture and other companies.
We can talk large about smart houses in these neighborhoods, of course based in energy efficiency. But what I would like to analyzed is mobility. How these neighbors will commute?
This question is really difficult to answer. Here we have two hypotheses:
– This new life style and new technologies will improve Teleworking. This company strategy could reduce the transportation need of neighbors.
– Sustainable mobility. One thing that Panasonic wants to include as a strong point in the project is the Electrical Vehicle.
Focusing on the second reality of the project, how sustainable mobility from smart neighborhoods will affect the rest of the urban areas?
Since we are becoming green, it seems that electrical mobility will affect all the population. Currently there are some options and trends, but these smart cores will boost e-mobility in the rest of the town.
Internal Combustion Engine will be avoided and restricted in smart cores, and this attitude will be extrapolated to the others. There will be urban areas, NOT smart neighborhoods, where we could not access with our private ICE car. At least we will need a Hybrid.
This fact will need to be controlled and there are so many ways to do it. The easiest are sensors. Setting up balises with sensors on the road, assuming that the price of this technology will decrease. With time ICE will be distinguish by special accreditation being the strangers of our streets. However, I do not want to be radical, because I belief in transitional solutions as LPG or NGV.
In resume, high emission vehicles will be restricted (the definition of “high” may be several) and the will be strategic urban areas where these vehicles could not access.
Illusions bring hope. Why could not be possible in the near future a green urban core in Madrid reducing new ICE registrations or at least boosting LPG or NGV and of course EV’s? The inside of the M-30 road in Madrid it is called “Almendra” (almond) because of its form. Why not a “Silient Almond”?
In Madrid it would mean all good thing, once overcome the first main complain. Some characteristics would be the following:
– Special permissions for services. Note that those transport or loading/unloading companies operating with EV’s will be better hired.
– More pedestrianized areas.
– Huge marked around the e-mobility enhancing the local economy, especially because of the renting of e-bikes and EV’s and also because of the taxi sector.
– Tourism. This is one of the strongest points. Madrid is the only region where tourism decreased in 2012, despite the scale up of Spain to the 3rd position in the world. Here we can discuss other parameters even more important than mobility. However, mobility has much to say in that direction, trying to show Madrid and its wonderful surroundings as a fresh-air place to breath. Madrid should take advance now, because waiting would mean being only one more.
Things to be analyzed in further steps:
*Public revenues of all this activities should substitute revenues from hydrocarbons.
*Only people with high incomes could participate at the beginning. When the things starts to be real and public organisms assume it, more people could take advance of the e-Mobility. People with high rents who want to live in smart neighborhoods (and it could be both publicity of a new style of life and also a real style of life) could be a great starting point.
*We will always be well received when we arrive on foot or by bike.