Cities Can Become Smarter, By Going Circular
Digital disruption is transforming the way we envision our cities. As we embark on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we must challenge traditional ways of thinking about how we manage our cities and our resources. Do rubbish trucks need to stop at every bin every week? How can we stop leaks faster so that we don’t waste so much water? Do we still need to own our own cars?
Cities are under siege: despite crumbling infrastructure, they must accommodate thousands of new people each year who move in search of better jobs, services, and culture. Cities currently consume 60% of the world’s energy and generate 70% of greenhouse gas emissions and global waste. Demands on them continue to grow, while budgets continue to shrink. We can no longer afford – environmentally, politically or economically – to ignore the toll our consumption is having on the planet.
In the US, for instance, roughly 70% of car trips are under two miles. What if we didn’t use cars for such short journeys and walked, biked or used other public or private transport alternatives? If cities enabled alternatives (perhaps via technology), we could save an estimated $900 million in fuel costs, car maintenance, and tire replacement; reduce CO2 emissions by about 2 million metric tons; and take as many as 400,000 cars off the road each year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
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