Researcher uses technology to help cities improve services such as traffic, transit, water systems
A “smart city” is less about technology than it is about improving people’s lives, says an Athabasca University researcher.
Digital technologies are the “core carrier” of a smart city, says Dr. Anshuman Khare, a professor of operations management in the Faculty of Business at AU. But its aim is “to promote good governance, grow the local economy, and provide services to citizens in a timely, reliable and cost-effective manner.”
“I see this whole project as a 3-legged stool, and the legs are the government, the citizens, and the business because the 3 combine for the success of a city.”– Dr. Anshuman Khare, professor of operations management
Smart cities services
The enhancements provided by a smart city can be subtle: traffic that flows smoothly thanks to sensors on the roads; transit that operates efficiently and on time; civic services that can be accessed easily online or with an app; solar-powered, energy-efficient buildings; and water systems monitored with technology that detects leaks.
“So long before ‘smart city’ was a topic of interest, we were already looking at how cities could function better and serve their citizens better,” says Khare. “Then in the early 2000s, we landed at an international conference with a lot of international researchers who talked about cities and climate change, and that we should be looking at something like a city that uses digital technologies to do better for their citizens, for the government and for the businesses. And that is how we ended up working on smart cities.”
Efficient operations make for a sustainable, livable city, he adds.
“I see this whole project as a 3-legged stool, and the legs are the government, the citizens, and the business because the 3 combine for the success of a city.”