Smart cities and smart housing solutions

The battle to be the smartest city in the world is on. With the help of connected data and control systems, homes and other spaces are being made more and more sustainable. Collective living is a growing trend.

Connectivity is increasing in modern cities – in both the construction and operation phases, and from both the building management and user perspective. In Sweden, for example, venture capital company EQT Ventures is investing in building information management (BIM), a digitalised method used in the construction process. BIM makes available and provides an overview of multiple layers of data – from building plans to water/heat/sanitation and fibre-optic networks. In the next stage, artificial intelligence can, for example, be used to control and optimise traffic flows.

Another example, which was featured in the media in Dagens Industri Digital, is Malmö company Mapillary (NTL), which is working with Amazon to create a map of available parking spaces. And in automotive development, electric scooters are a big success in environments where people want to both walk and get around using a vehicle.

Several modern cities around the world are working on far-reaching and advanced digital solutions in an attempt to be one of the world’s smartest cities. And in doing so, they will greatly increase their sustainability into the bargain. One example is Stockholm, also featured in a Dagens Industri article.

The city has waste bins fitted with solar cells and send an alert when they are full, thereby optimising the refuse collection process and eliminating unnecessary collection rounds, which have been reduced by an amazing 97 percent.

Another example of Stockholm City’s use of digital systems to increase resource efficiency and improve social services is dyslexia screening using AI, as well as traffic monitoring and smart street lighting.

The goal is for Stockholm to be the smartest city in the world by 2040.

From a user perspective (resident, road user, social services consumer) there are also trends such as more people considering collective living solutions. The reason, according to Dagens Nyheter, is the rising cost of land and more and more digital systems in our homes. As work environments are becoming increasingly flexible and connected, with the rise of co-working spaces where smaller businesses can share office space, it is no surprise that the housing sector is following suit.

The next step may collectivisation of the construction process. This is already common in Germany. There, members of a community can have a say in the construction process and will then often choose to live in a housing cooperative. In Sweden the phenomenon is still relatively rare, although Gothenburg City has now decided that 5 percent of land allocation will be for collective construction and/or collective housing.