The evolving urban environment: Creating liveable cities

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September 19, 2022

Governments are tasked with creating inclusive, safe, resilient, sustainable environments as they move from City 4.0 to 5.0.

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There’s no doubt that cities are growing and changing ― fast. In fact, rapid urbanisation over the past few decades has meant that more than 56 percent of today’s global population  are city dwellers. And as people flock to cities, governments are being challenged to deliver the services citizens need in a human-centric environment that provides quality of life and respects sustainability.

Ensuring quality of life, means ensuring citizens’ safety, time, health, environment, connectedness, jobs and cost of living. It also means ensuring citizens are not hampered by technology and that they always have access to services. A lack of equal access for all citizens will only result in conflict and unrest. The UN notes that while the world’s cities occupy just three percent of the earth’s land, they produce 60-80 percent of energy consumption and 75 percent of carbon emissions. Governments will need to figure out how to stave off unplanned urban sprawl, and overburdened infrastructure and services (including waste collection, water and sanitation, and roads and transport).

From City 4.0 to 5.0

The pace at which urban environments grow must be matched by the pace at which they evolve. Over the last 20 years smart city initiatives have focused on using connected digital technologies to automate processes ― known as City 4.0. It’s now time to move away from building infrastructure that simply connects devices in service silos and move toward a holistic connected City 5.0 environment.

While there is no hard and fast definition, it’s widely agreed that City 5.0 leverages technology to connect everything and everyone to create more liveable cities. Current thinking focuses on adding digital intelligence to solve public problems which can help improve citizens’ quality of life. As well, real-time data can provide timely information for governments to identify issues and respond quickly with potentially lower-cost solutions.

However, City 5.0 will not happen in a vacuum. Changes that take place in smart cities mirror evolutions taking place in the industrial world. For example, until recently Industry 4.0 was focused on smarter, more efficient production. However, Industry 5.0 is moving toward digital technologies that reinforce the role and the contribution of industry to society. According to experts, Industry 5.0 takes into consideration the wellbeing of the worker and adopts new technologies to provide prosperity beyond jobs and growth while respecting the production limits of the planet.

Governments will need to step-up

Governments will be responsible for making City 5.0 happen. Since citizens are ultimately the governments’ customers, elected officials will be held accountable by those who voted for them, to make the right public investments, at the right time. The challenge will be to meet the need, because as city populations grow, there are no guarantees that budgets will grow accordingly. Governments will have to be efficient to meet the challenges of the future while addressing the expectations of its citizens. They will need to add Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the mix to create the smart connected City 5.0 of tomorrow.

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise connected cities solutions can help. Our resilient, secure communications and network solutions can address cities’ needs for sustainability and can create a better, more balanced quality of life in urban centres by connecting communities, agencies and urban ecosystems.

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Xavier Mongin

Global Director for the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Government, Defence, and Smart cities

Xavier Mongin is Global Director for the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Government, Defence, and Smart cities sector, based in Dubai. He has more than 20 years of experience in the Information & Technology Industry (ICT) in various sectors including Hospitality IT which he led until the end of 2021. Prior to that, he managed South East Europe, Africa, Turkey, India, and the Middle East/Africa regions.

Xavier is an excellent communicator with extensive experience in complex negotiations across diverse cultures. With a desire to share his experience and passion for innovation, he has co-founded a number of entrepreneurship ventures and mentored multiple start-ups.

Xavier is a member of CCI France UAE, French Tech Dubai, and a Hyperloop Transport Technologies contributor.

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