In Latin America, urbanization is almost up to 80% now. This means that there are a lot of possibilities (and often a great need for) smart city solutions. Let's take a look at some of the most ambitious smart cities in Latin America.
Santiago de Chile - towards a sustainable future
A surprisingly extended smart city project can be found in Santiago de Chile (1). With more than 6 million inhabitants (and over 8 million people in the metropolitan area), it is one of the largest smart cities in Latin America. Santiago has a rich history it can build on. The city was founded in colonial times and became the capital city of Chile in 1818, but Santiago kept moving with the times.
Sustainability is key
The goals of Chile's smart project go further than tech improvements, and they are all about a sustainable future (2):
- A 100% transition to clean and renewable energy
- Facilitating a technologically-literate population
- More efficient communication
One of the challenges of Santiago de Chile was the business downtime due to power outages. By using smart technology, authorities can manage electrical energy from remote locations.
The impact of Santiago de Chile's smart city solutions is large. People benefit from practical solutions like smart parking and a bike sharing program that contributes to a car-free city.
Also, the economic benefits of the energy transition to clean and renewable energy should not be underestimated. This transition means lower costs for inhabitants and businesses in Santiago de Chile. In the end, this will boost the economic climate. The smart city projects of Santiago de Chile (3) are a great example of how climate sustainability goals can actually help improve the quality of the social environment as well.
Medellín Colombia - improving everyday life
When it comes to innovation, sometimes we tend to think about technology rather than humans. But the innovations that hit it off are the people-centred ones. The fact that all smart solutions in Medellín are aimed to make people's everyday lives better is one of the reasons it deserves a special place on the list of the best smart cities in Latin America.
Improvement of everyday life
The city has a rather difficult past, to say the least. High crime rates and lack of access to social facilities were on top of the list of Medellín's challenges in the nineties of the last century. It was technology that helped save the city, or as Newsweek put it: "It is about gathering data to make informed decisions on how to deploy technology where it has the most impact. And it is about establishing a constituency for change that transcends wealth and class." (4)
Open and easy access to data - for everyone
All over town, data is gathered on everyday life in Medellín. The data is not only used by the town's authorities; everyone can use it. Private and public organizations develop solutions to improve everyday life in Medellín. At the same time, the data can be used to check on the authorities.
Medellín's Smart Mobility System (SIMM) integrates communication, infrastructure and transport. But there are many more smart solutions that helped Medellín to get where it is now, like:
- A (prepaid) energy management solution.
- An early warning system for smog and natural disasters.
- An emergency platform that significantly reduced waiting time for help to arrive.
- A system for access to education for all.
- As a result many of the city's administrative services involve smart technology.
With all these smart applications, Medellín is showing the world how smart data insights make an impact. A great example of what happens when developers analyse what people need to improve their everyday lives.
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