The Anatomy of a Smart City
There is no doubt that the city will be the defining feature of human geography for the 21st century.
Globally, there are 1.3 million people moving to cities each week – and by 2040, a staggering 65% of the world’s population will live in cities.
At the same time, the 600 biggest urban areas already account for 60% of global GDP, and this will only rise higher as cities become larger and more prosperous. In fact, experts estimate that up to 80% of future economic growth in developing regions will occur in cities alone.
The Smart City: A Necessary Step
As cities become an even more important driver of the global economy and wealth, it’s becoming crucial to ensure that they are optimized to maximize efficiency and sustainability, while enhancing the quality of life in each urban conglomeration.
Today’s infographic from Postscapes helps define the need for smart cities, and it also gives great examples of how technology can be applied in urban settings to facilitate cities that work better for their citizens.
Features of Tomorrow’s Cities
Smart cities will use low power sensors, wireless networks, and mobile-based applications to measure and optimize everything within cities.
Here are just some examples: (click below image to open full-size version)
Smart city solutions will fall into six broad categories, transforming the urban landscape:
Smart lighting is one of the most important solutions that will be implemented in citywide infrastructure. While smart lighting sounds trivial at first glance, it’s worth noting that lighting alone consumes a whopping 19% of the world’s total electricity.
Heating, energy usage, lighting, and ventilation will be managed and optimized by technology. Solar panels will be integrated into building design, replacing traditional materials. Fire detection and extinguishing is tailored to individual rooms.
Smart grids (used for energy consumption monitoring and management), water leakage detection, and water potability monitoring are just some smart city aspects on the utilities side.
Intelligent, adaptive fast lanes and slow lanes (cycling, walking) will be implemented, while charging stations through the city will power EVs.
Air pollution control, renewable energy, and waste management solutions will make for greener cities. Rooftop gardens or side vegetation will be integrated into building designs, to help with insulation, provide oxygen, and absorb CO2.
There will be citywide Wi-Fi for public use, while real-time updates will provide citizens information on traffic congestion, parking spaces, and other city amenities.
Cisco estimates that smarter cities will have impressive increases in efficiency: using many of the above concepts, cities can improve energy efficiency by 30% in 20 years.
Simultaneously, it’s estimated that the broad market for smart cities products and services will be worth $2.57 trillion by 2025, growing at a clip of 18.4% per year on average.
Upward Momentum: Charting a Year of Skyscraper Construction
Nearly 150 skyscrapers were completed around the world last year. Find out which cities and regions are growing skyward the fastest.
Ever since the first towering spires broke through the clouds in New York and Chicago, skyscrapers have remained a potent symbol of economic might.
The tallest buildings require vast amounts of materials, expertise, and capital to make them a reality, but the cities that add these landmarks to their skylines gain prestige and send a powerful message to competing economic centers.
Skyscraper Construction in 2018
Where are the most skyscrapers popping up? Let’s take a look at regional hot-spots around the world.
Note: For the purposes of this article, “skyscraper” will refer to buildings 656 feet (200 meters) or more in height.
China is Flying High
For well over two decades, China has led the world in skyscraper construction, and 2018 was no exception.
The country’s fixation on urban growth and continued economic success is producing tall buildings at a staggering rate. Last year, a mind-boggling 89 skyscrapers were completed in 28 different cities around China.
To put this building boom into perspective, China completed more skyscrapers in one year than New York City’s entire stock of 656ft and taller buildings.
In 2018, no city reached for the stars quite like Shenzhen. The city, which is a hub of China’s high-flying tech sector, now has the second-most skyscrapers in the world, surpassed only by Dubai.
Shenzhen isn’t just building a lot of skyscrapers, it’s building extremely tall ones too.
In 2017, for example, the ribbon was cut on the massive Ping An Finance Center, which is currently the 4th tallest building in the world. Last year alone, four new towers cracked the 1,000ft (300m) barrier.
While China’s scale is hard to beat, other cities in the region are also undergoing dramatic changes, particularly in Southeast Asia. Malaysia and Indonesia completed a combined 13 new skyscrapers, and the Vincom Landmark 81 was added to Ho Chi Minh City’s growing roster of unique skyscrapers.
While there are two skyscrapers under construction in Japan – one in Tokyo and one in Yokohama – none of them were completed last year.
A New Era of American Skyscrapers
After a two-decade lull in skyscraper construction, the United States is embracing taller buildings again. Last year alone, the U.S. added 14 new skyscrapers into the mix, particularly in New York City, where construction cranes dot the horizon. In the past decade, NYC has added 25 new skyscrapers to its iconic skyline.
This trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Between now and 2022, 44 skyscraper projects are expected to be completed in the United States, with the vast majority being built in the Big Apple.
Visualizing Job Growth in Top Tech Markets in North America
Silicon Valley is no longer the only place to be for a career in tech. Here are the fastest growing tech markets across North America, and the up-and-comers.
Visualizing Job Growth in Top Tech Markets in North America
The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
The tech boom is here, and it’s heating up.
Over the past decade, the tech industry has created more than 1 million jobs across the United States. Between 2010 and 2017, tech-related job growth averaged 6% – more than four times the national average across all industries. Though the figures slowed slightly in 2018, the tech industry still boasts twice the national growth average at approximately 4%.
What’s causing this growth, and where are tech hubs emerging from the woodwork?
Today’s graphic, which uses data from the 2018 Tech-30 report from CBRE Research, offers a job-focused snapshot of the mammoth tech industry.
Which markets are hot or not?
Using job growth measures in various cities over two-year periods, CBRE identifies which cities’ tech markets are on the rise, and which are slowly declining.
Montreal, St. Louis, and Seattle have shown the most momentum over 2016/2017, gaining 23%, 22%, and 8% growth respectively over the previous two-year period. Interestingly, cities like New York, Chicago, and even Silicon Valley have seen a drop in growth over the past two years, while San Francisco and Phoenix are at the bottom of the list with job growth falling by more than 25%. It’s worth noting many of these markets still exceed the 9.2% US average of high-tech job growth, but overall momentum is in decline.
Here’s the full list of cities, along with their comparative data:
|City||Growth (2014-2015)||Growth (2016-2017)||Difference|
|Salt Lake City||14.2%||8.1%||-6.1%|
|Minneapolis St Paul||7.8%||1.3%||-6.5%|
|Dallas Ft Worth||18.1%||3.4%||-14.7%|
Expanding the tech footprint
As the tech job growth has boomed, so have real estate prices, particularly in prime areas favored by tech startups nationwide. In Seattle alone, the asking price for office rentals has increased by 14% over the last two years.
In response, technology firms have started to diversify their presence across the United States. By expanding their office space away from established headquarters, firms benefit from preferential rental rates and the talent pool that comes with a geographically distributed workforce. Over the past five years alone, the top four tech hubs – San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and New York City – have exported more than a combined 25 million square feet of office space to other markets.
The silver lining to this tech expansion? If you aspire to a career in technology, you might not have to stray as far as Silicon Valley to get your foot in the door.
Next 10 tech markets to watch
With the tech hubs spreading across North America, a peek at 2018’s high-tech employment figures suggests which cities are on the rise. These are the cities flagged as the next ten tech markets to watch, based on tech industry growth and affordable office rent:
|Market||High-Tech Services Employment||Avg. Office Rent ($/sq. ft)|
Is your city the next Silicon Valley? Only time will tell.
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