Smart cities are already a global trend. The race to make our urban areas more sustainable and efficient spaces, thanks to technological innovation, kicked off in 2011 with the creation of the Spanish Smart City Network (RECI).
Because the ‘smart city’ label is no longer reserved only for large cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. Nowadays, there are more than 80 Spanish towns and cities which, as part of the RECI, share information, participate in task forces and share their experience of mobility, electronic vehicles, information technologies and sustainability.
Digital transformation has driven the launch of a multitude of smart city projects in small and medium-sized towns and cities in Spain. However, what do we mean, exactly, when we talk about smart cities? Let’s take a look at some initiatives which have grabbed our attention.
Top 5 Smart City Projects
The smart city is already a reality in Guadalajara. Sacyr launched an ambitious project there in 2015 called the Smart Guadalajara platform, an application to manage road cleaning services and solid urban waste collection services. Here, the citizens play a central role, as they can report information to the Council in real time to improve decision making by the municipal services.
The ‘ACCEDE: A city for everyone’ project is one of the pillars of Malaga Smart City. The goal is to promote a more accessible city both for citizens living there and for the thousands of tourists who visit the city on the Costa del Sol each year. The initiative is supported by Fiware technology and public-private collaborations are being sought to carry out the best proposals offered to meet this challenge.
Challenges are set through the Santander City Brain platform so that citizens can participate in making decisions about things which affect them, such as making a street a pedestrian-only area or transforming other spaces. In addition, the Santander Smart City interpretation centre conducts training activities and is a constant source of information.
SmartKalea attempts to achieve greater energy and monetary savings in three main areas – businesses, homes and city infrastructure – while maintaining its commitment to the environment, fostering participation and raising awareness among citizens and tradespeople/hotel and catering business owners about energy saving and sustainability. It also attempts to generate new business opportunities for retailers and technological partners. It was first applied in the Calle Mayor in the old quarter of the city. The positive results of the pilot programme have made it possible to replicate it in other parts of the city.
In Castellon, a comprehensive Smart City pilot project has been carried out in the Pau Gambau neighbourhood. More than 25 types of sensors were integrated into a single platform to achieve smart management of residential water (gathering of the data from all homes) and wastewater (pipes, etc.); urban waste (real-time monitoring of the percentage that the waste bin is full); the park watering system (measuring ground humidity levels); air and water quality; meteorology; and parking.