Smart City technology must always serve one purpose: to improve quality of life. Smart cities today use technology to make daily life more accessible, accommodate individual needs and increase the wellbeing and welfare of their citizens through connectivity and IoT.
With an ageing population and with the increase of people migrating to cities (especially in a post-pandemic world), it is crucial that smart cities are designed with the future of healthcare in mind. But how can smart city technology have an impact on the wellbeing and health of city inhabitants?
Smart City Technology - Data Driven Healthcare
One of the greatest strengths of smart city technology is its ability to pull information from a wide array of sources. A city deployed with mobile device sensors, vehicular networks and IoT devices can create a thorough network of intelligent infrastructure able to assess the efficiency of a city’s systems and processes.
Through machine learning, data analysis and behavioural insights, smart cities are able to consistently adapt to tackle health & wellbeing inequalities and improve community healthcare. By analysing data gathered from IoT devices, medical professionals can identify specific groups who are at risk of illness and put preventive measures in place.
It’s important for these smart cities to prioritise health and wellness in their early stages of planning and development. City developers and officials should invest in systems that offer intelligent learning and data collecting capabilities. This data allows city services to respond promptly to urgent health needs and can lead to a better quality of life.
Santa Monica are known as one of the first cities in the world to measure citizen contentment and welfare, all by tracking the health and happiness of their residents.
By incorporating a framework similar to theirs, smart cities can truly measure their level of success against how they have improved wellbeing and provided access to mobility, public health, learning and housing, whilst simultaneously remaining sustainability focused.
Smart Cities & Behaviours
Studies show that the design of a built environment, such as a city, can have a huge impact on lifestyle choices, health and wellbeing.
The implementation of accessible walkways and pedestrian routes not only helps reduce city traffic and pollution, but can have a lasting effect on the health of communities.
Until recently, the design of a city and its pedestrianisation efforts have been self-reported and, in some cases, guessed at. Now, however, mobile tech, smart sensors and other smart city technology offers city planners the ability to analyse city design through sensor data and activity monitoring.
Smart cities can now learn from their technology and adapt city spaces to pedestrianise urban areas and promote healthier lifestyle behaviours, such as cycling and walking.
City developers and officials can further elevate these efforts by deploying new technology into their pedestrian spaces.
Walking tracks such as those developed by Pavegen, encourage well-being whilst also generating renewable energy with every footstep to help power interactive LED lighting. The kinetic smart city technology creates a unique user experience, which extends far beyond the initial touchpoint, creating a small amount of green energy and having an even bigger impact on the user’s sustainable behaviours.
Improving Quality Of Life Through Smart City Technology
Smart Cities have already improved the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of citizens around the world. The possibilities are truly endless and global cities have only scratched the surface of what is possible through smart city technology.
Smart tech today can already track and share information on a person’s wellbeing such as their nutrition, exercise, sleeping habits, mental health and stress management.
These preventative methods and data gathered through IoT devices can accurately map city hazards, emergencies and potential crime in real-time, enabling the better deployment of scarce resources and personnel.
Beyond this, sustainable environments supported through smart tech could see a decrease in CO2 emissions, air pollution and energy consumption. Smart city technology that promotes a sustainable approach not only helps reduce the side-effects of polluting processes but encourage a change in behaviour within the public to strive towards greener living.
Recently, IPCC reported on what communities and governments can do to reduce the negative impacts of rising temperatures. As well as doubling down on CO2 reduction processes, the IPCC highlighted the importance of citizen participation.
Initiatives and technologies that encourage behavioural change and engage communities into sustainable action is crucial and should be implemented across smart cities globally. The takeaway here? Citizen behaviour will play just as big a part as government sustainability efforts.
Pavegen developed their proprietary app, ‘Pavegen GO ENGAGE’ to pair with their tiles for this reason. The app encourages behaviour change towards sustainability using initiatives and rewards and offers partners the ability to track the data generated and learn from it, driving their sustainability and wellbeing efforts.
Smart city technology has the potential to reshape city infrastructure and processes which could have a lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of the public.
By incorporating health and wellbeing efforts into the early stages of smart city development, we can greatly improve the efficiency of healthcare systems and initiatives, allowing them to become proactive rather than reactive.
By combining smart city infrastructure with a focus on increasing citizen engagement, we can design urban areas that are not only benefitting the individual, but also working towards the UN Global Goals for net zero by 2030 and worldwide targets by 2050.
Pavegen’s award-winning technology creates highly engaging experiences, by using the renewable energy of a footstep, to educate and engage communities towards healthier behaviours and practices.
Using 'people power', Pavegen helps move society towards a healthier and more sustainable future through highly engaging experiences that inspire people to think and act more conscientiously around our planet.