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The best smart cities in the Middle-East

For some, smart city solutions seem to revolve around infrastructure, but there is a lot more than meets the eye. The most innovative solutions can offer smart city residents chances for a more sustainable environment, economy and social structure. The opportunities seem endless, and these smart cities in the Middle East have some great examples.

Masdar City (Abu Dhabi), United Arab Emirates- a fully self-sufficient city

Starting from scratch shows some interesting advantages in smart urban planning.
Masdar’s smart city solutions are developed in a collaboration of government, private companies, universities and individuals.
A ‘responsible’ producer of oil can support the transformation towards renewable energy

Building a city from scratch means you can aim high. The goals of Masdar City, just outside Abu Dhabi, might sound very ambitious but are not just a pipe-dream. Zero-emission and zero waste are very realistic objectives for Masdar.

Abu Dhabi is well known as an oil producer, but Masdar City shows how to transform to a balance of hydrocarbons and renewable energy. The sustainability motif comes back in many of the Masdar smart city projects. Even the youngest inhabitants get a chance to be a part of Masdar’s sustainable solutions, with projects like ‘smart gardens’ for kids that teach them about homegrown food. Meanwhile, the great variety of sustainable public transportation options make green solutions a very tangible part of everyday life in Masdar.

The urban development of Masdar is not only based on environmental sustainability; the social and economic structures are also considered. This means that the city offers citizens chances by providing excellent opportunities in education, mobility, and recreation. All the solutions found in Masdar can be combined into one ‘greenprint’ for other cities worldwide to follow.

Building a smart city from scratch offers many possibilities for innovation, but it doesn’t mean that ‘old’ cities can’t get smart(er). Most smart city solutions in Masdar can be copied and adjusted to any existing city with smart and sustainable ambitions.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Frontrunner on the blockchain

Residents have a digital identity (UAE pass) to access government services
Dubai will be the first fully blockchain-powered city, with three strategic pillars: Efficiency, Industry Creation, and International Leadership.
A hands-on approach with pilots to discover new possibilities in practice.

The city of Dubai is taking a creative approach to building a smart digital and physical infrastructure. Over 7,5 million transactions are already being made over Dubai’s own payment infrastructure, and the application is on over 500,000 citizens’ smartphones as of the summer of 2020. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and it seems the Dubai citizens like their own payment infrastructure.

But there is (much) more to do in the smart city of Dubai. One of the most remarkable goals of Dubai is that it will be the first fully blockchain-powered city. Much research is done, and plans are made for blockchain technology, but Dubai is choosing a hands-on approach. Blockchain projects are tested by running pilots, and some are going live in record time. This can be realized because Dubai offers a smart environment that encourages innovations and actual implementations of new technologies.

You can definitely put Dubai on your watchlist as it comes to blockchain and other smart city solutions.

Learn more about smart cities all over the world

These two smart cities in the Middle East are not the only examples you can learn from. All over the world, cities are becoming smarter through automation and new technologies to improve services by using data and increasing operational efficiency.

In our latest edition of the Smart City Survey, you can read all about how smart cities bridge real life to digital. 

Smart City Survey