Lagos Smart City: By all indications Lagos arguably the most populated city in Nigeria is set to become the first smart city in Africa following her historic partnership with the city of Dubai in the last month.
According to the number one citizen of Lagos state, Governor Ambode the Lagos smart city project is a deliberate attempt by the government to establish a strong convergence between technology, economic development, and governance. Ambode stated that, “the collaboration is part of the larger vision to make Lagos safer, cleaner, and more prosperous”.
Since the days of the industrial revolution, cities have been the engines of economic growth. The revolution was effective in developing prosperity for many countries, but the development was not always “smart,” sacrificing health conditions, for instance, for greater productivity.
Now with greater use of technology, a number of cities are accumulating data, delivering innovation, and enhancing lives of citizens.
What is a smart city?
A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate multiple information and communication technology(ICT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets – the city’s assets include, but not limited to, local departments information systems, schools, libraries,transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other community services.
Albeit, truth be told, there is no universally accepted definition of a smart city. It means different things to different people. The conceptualization of Smart City, therefore, varies from city to city and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents.
The Essence of the Lagos smart city project
The goal of building a smart city is to improve quality of life by using technology to improve the efficiency of services and meet residents’ needs. ICT allows city officials to interact directly with the community and the city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city, how the city is evolving, and how to enable a better quality of life. Through the use of sensors integrated with real-time monitoring systems, data are collected from citizens and devices – then processed and analyzed. The information and knowledge gathered are keys to tackling inefficiency.
The role of ICT in “smart cities”
ICT is used to enhance quality, performance and interactivity of urban services to reduce costs and resource consumption and to improve contact between citizens and government. Smart city applications are developed with the goal of improving the management of urban flows and allowing for real time responses to challenges. A smart city may therefore be more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple ‘transactional’ relationship with its citizens. Yet, the term itself remains unclear to its specifics and therefore, open to many interpretations and subject.
Other terms that have been used for similar concepts include cyberville, digital city, electronic communities, flexicity, information city,intelligent city, knowledge-based city, MESH city, telecity, teletopia, ubiquitous city, wired city.
Major technological, economic and environmental changes have generated interest in smart cities, including climate change, economic restructuring, the move to online retail and entertainment, ageing populations, urban population growth and pressures on public finances
Hence, the five essential components of a smart city are:
- Transportation & road infrastructure
- The smart city itself.
The downsides of a smart city
The people who live in cities are driven economic performers who are seeking to take advantage of technologies to further their personal and collective opportunities. Cities provide them these opportunities and in doing so draw many like-minded parties into their midst. With this drive and an increase in active participants, there are downsides, most notably, energy consumption, waste, crime rate and congestion. Already the effects of the congestion in Lagos state is evident everywhere you go. The population growth in the city of excellence presently sits on a keg of gunpowder. I’m not even sure we still have some energy left in the state talk-less consuming it. So, you can imagine what will become of the Lagos smart city if the aforementioned bottlenecks are not nipped in the bud.
Citizens are not the only factors to consider in the evolution of cities into smart cities. Governmental and commercial entities are going to play increasingly important roles in development and implementation of technologies that pave the way to the smart city.
Above all, the smart city project when completed is expected to be the pride of Lagosians and Nigerians at large.
Barcelona is presently the smartest city in the world.