Feb 17, 2020 - Technology

The next decade of smart city growth

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Transportation and energy upgrades are expected to be the big drivers of smart city spending over the next decade.

Why it matters: Global spending on smart city projects will reach nearly $124 billion this year, an 18% increase over 2019, according to IDC, a market research firm.

The big picture: Singapore, Tokyo, New York and London are expected to be the biggest spenders (~$1 billion each) on smart city projects this year.

  • While about a third of global investment has come from the biggest cities, IDC expects small and mid-sized cities to continue to spend on smaller-scale initiatives (~$1 million or less).

Transportation: Research firm Kantar predicts that greener modes of transportation will represent nearly half of all trips taken in cities in 2030. Globally, cycling will increase by 18%, walking by 15% and public transit use will increase by 6%.

  • Micromobility options are currently getting the most attention as e-scooters and e-bikes show up on sidewalks. This month, Lime committed to using 100% emission-free vehicles by 2030.
  • Electric vehicles are expected to make up half of new car sales by 2040, per BloombergNEF, and McKinsey predicts that about $50 billion in investment in charging stations will be needed through 2030, Bloomberg reports.

Energy: Utilities are central to making cities more efficient — a key component of what makes a city "smart."

Be smart: Intelligent grids and transportation systems need ubiquitous connectivity to respond to demand and monitor traffic flows.

  • Right now, 4G connectivity can power the technologies being piloted, but 5G networks will help increase the capacity and efficiency of smart city projects as more come online.
  • The 5G market is expected to be around $700 billion by 2030, per market research firm IDTechEx, powered by mobile services, fixed wireless services and Internet of Things applications.

What to watch: Cities hosting Olympic games — such as Tokyo this year and Los Angeles in 2028 — are investing heavily in infrastructure to accommodate the deluge of visitors, and will be see as test-beds for what works.

Go deeper:

  • Cities transportation ideas remain too small to deliver clear results (Axios)
  • 10 cities are predicted to be megacities by 2030 (World Economic Forum)

Go deeper

A small but growing number of cities are tackling climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

13% of nearly 900 cities tracked by the nonprofit CDP get a top rating on climate change action — a fraction of the total population, but roughly double the number of cities on the organization's 2018 list.

Why it matters: Cities create more than 60% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and consume 78% of the world’s energy. The 105 cities who received an "A" rating from CDP represent a combined population of 170 million.

San Jose approves first step to connect 50,000 unserved residents to broadband

Street scene in San Jose, California. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

The San Jose City Council approved the first batch of community grants as part of the city's Digital Inclusion Fund intended to connect unserved residents to broadband.

Why it matters: The Digital Inclusion Fund was established a year ago during negotiations with 5G providers wanting to erect small cell antennas on city infrastructure. A portion of lease revenue collected from telecom companies goes into the fund — along with significant private funding — to help connect unserved residents.

Bloomberg unveils criminal justice plan amid stop-and-frisk fallout

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

2020 candidate Mike Bloomberg on Tuesday released a criminal justice reform agenda that focuses on reducing racial disparities in incarceration and helping reintegrate those who have been jailed.

Why it matters: The former New York City mayor's criminal justice record has been under scrutiny in the wake of the resurfacing of a 2015 audio clip of him defending the city's stop-and-frisk policy, which mostly impacted black and Latino people before it was ruled unconstitutional in 2013.