6.2.1 | Developing Smart Cities and a Smart Region
Figure 6.1 | Smart City Concepts 14
This Region is well positioned to drive sustainable growth and to lead on smart investment choices, supported by the EU Digital Single Market. The Smart City concept envisages that digital technology is embedded across all city functions as a platform to solve complex challenges and achieve efficient use and deployment of infrastructure and local services, increasing public safety, increasing entrepreneurial activity and improve our environment. It involves a systematic integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in planning, design, operations and management for the benefit of the citizen. Smart cities boost a location’s attractiveness, especially for those who want to innovate 15 . Harnessing the best of the Smart City concept makes our cities and towns more efficient and liveable. The yields for citizens, the environment and the regional economy are far reaching. The ‘All Ireland Smart Cities Forum’ focuses on advancing cities through a common purpose and agreement to work together to solve problems, share knowledge, cultivate best practice and foster innovation. The concept provides a platform for sharing knowledge between the cities of Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Belfast and Derry and includes the two regional initiatives of Smart Dublin and Cork Smart Gateway. The benefits of Smart Cities apply not only to the urban but are also to rural areas. Capitalising on Smart City concepts across towns and villages will require ongoing investment in broadband, fibre technologies, wireless networks and integrated infrastructure. For example, the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), managed by ENet on behalf of the state and local authorities, requires continual investment and upgrading, especially where urban focused population and employment growth is targeted. A Smart City goes beyond the use of ICT it means smarter urban transport networks, upgraded water supply and waste disposal facilities and more efficient ways to light and heat buildings. It also means a more interactive and responsive city administration, safer public spaces and meeting the needs of an ageing population. These concepts can also be applied to towns, villages and rural areas for a Smart Region. 14. Ireland’s Smart Specialisation Strategy for Research and Innovation. https://bit.ly/2OVCNfP 15. Examples of smart city initiatives include: Amsterdam Smart City (ASC); Barcelona (e.g. Open Data BCN); Copenhagen (first carbon neutral city ambition); and Esbjerg, Denmark (Next Step City)
For example, Enniscorthy town has taken the initial steps towards the achievement of Smart Town Status with the establishment of the FAB LAB in 2017, the development of a Technology Park for smart business and the establishment of the National Zero Energy Building training centre. The town has commenced a Healthy Town Programme under Healthy Ireland. Subject to appropriate environmental appraisals it is also proposed to develop a Blueway from Enniscorthy to Wexford town and Bunclody Chapter 4 also includes RPOs aimed at supporting digital infrastructure, innovation hubs and diversification. Chapter 7 Quality of Life supports digital technology as an enabler for Lifelong Learning.
Smart Cities It is an objective to: •
Develop Smart Cities as engines for a Smart Region (urban and rural); Support the initiatives of theAll Ireland Smart Cities Forum; Seek good practices yielded through living labs, test-beds; Seek the deployment of disruptive technologies and smart infrastructures in cities, towns, villages and rural areas; Seek investment in the initiatives of stakeholders to achieve the pillars of the EU Digital Single Market.
Southern Regional Assembly | RSES
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