The world is getting smarter and smarter, and people are using that knowledge to make their lives easier. While the Internet of Things is still in its infancy when it comes to its potential, the future of urbanization is on its way. Right now, we are using the Internet of Things to simplify our life. Devices like the FitBit monitor our health and fitness. Uber gives us a ride when we need one. Mr. Coffee lets us brew a cup of coffee from anywhere.  We connect with all of these products via our smartphones, and once they’ve been integrated into our lives, it’s a hassle to function without them.

This isn’t a bad thing—in fact, it’s wonderful. We are growing smarter, and we are using our intelligence to make the world around us smarter, too. Why should our cities be any different?

In her TedTalk, Larissa Suzuki states, “smart cities are going to work for people”. In the simplest terms, a smart city will be built in such a way that it can collect data about its environment and its inhabitants in such a way that will allow it to function smoother and easier. Suzuki describes it as “sensors everywhere syncing environments, getting information and infusing that information back into the environment to give personalized services to people”. For example, a smart city could potentially gather data on how your family uses electricity in your home, and provide you with more efficient energy use so there is less waste. A smart city would be able to measure street traffic, and adjust the flow of vehicles using traffic lights. Hugh Green tells us that smart cities are designed around “better data equaling better decisions for the governance of the city itself”.

Not only will a smart city be able to collect information and use it to better the lives of its inhabitants, but the people living in the city would eventually adapt and form more environmentally friendly living habits. If you’re made aware of the amount of energy you’re wasting by leaving a light on in a room you’re not using, eventually, you’ll learn to shut it off. If you’re made aware of the amount of food waste you produce, you’ll learn to stop overbuying foods at the grocery store.

To learn more about smart cities, check out this YouTube video “What is a smart city?