How building a smart city means building a city’s climate resilience?

Recently a heavy rainstorm broke out in Western Japan, bringing serious landslides and flooding, resulting in one of the worst climate disasters in decades. While it is vital to carry out remedial measures, preventive ones are just as critical. This caused me to reflect on a city’s resilience to climate change and how a city can be smartened up against sudden climate catastrophes.

A smart city can be the key to boosting up a city’s resilience against natural hazards. A smart city is one that adopts information and communication technology (ICT) for a better management of urban resources to achieve a higher quality of life and work efficiency. If a city is smart enough, it should be resilient to sudden climate disasters and emergencies. For example, Internet of Things (IoTs) sensors and big data analysis can be adopted to establish monitoring and alarm systems against many types of climate hazards, like earthquakes, flooding, storms, etc. Such an alarm system can be adopted in the form of a mobile app, to be easily and widely accessible to the public. Emergency navigation can be provided on the same system to guide people to safe places as well.

While it is important to build a city’s climate resilience, it is essential to make the city eco-friendly to cut down carbon emissions to fight against climate change in the first place. Copenhagen for instance, set a role model in transiting to a zero carbon economy by implementing a climate plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. This shows that a smart city does not simply folster climate resilience but can even combat climate change!

Hopefully in the future technologies and innovations can be adopted to solve many more urban problems and make life happier.


建立智慧城市能如何加強城市面對氣候變化的適應力

近期日本西部暴雨成災,造成嚴重山泥傾瀉和水浸,是近幾十年來最嚴峻的暴雨。救災行動固然重要,但未雨綢繆的預防工作亦必不可少。是次水災讓我反思到城市適應氣候變化的能力的重要性,以及發展智慧城市(Smart City)能如何提升城市面對氣候變化的抵抗力,減輕天災禍害的影響。

智慧城市以資訊及通訊科技(Information and Communications Technology)來管理城市和城市資源,以提高生活質素和工作效率。建立智慧城市同時有助增強城市抵禦氣候變化的能力。一個有足夠「智慧」的智慧城市足以抵抗突發的氣候災禍和緊急狀況,例如,利用物聯網(Internet of Things)感測器和大數據(Big Data)分析技術針對各類氣候災害如地震、水浸、風災等建立監察和警報系統,以手機程式的形式供大眾使用。系統亦可包括緊急路線導航的功能來引導民眾疏散至安全地方。

雖然加強城市的氣候變化適應力相當重要,但卻只是治標的做法,讓城市變得低碳環保從而緩和氣候變化才是治本的措施。以哥本哈根為例,該城計劃在二零二五年前達到零碳排放,減輕全球暖化,可見智慧城市不但能抵禦氣候變化,更能夠緩和改善氣候變化。

期望未來創新科技能被應用解決更多城市問題,讓生活變得更好。