Stockholm has an ambitious objective to become the world’s smartest city by the year 2040, creating the best quality of life for its citizens and the best climate for business entrepreneurs. The definition of a “smart” city is subject to some debate but there seem to be three main factors in play:
- The use of a wide range of digital technologies to transform life and working environments within the region
- The more efficient use of its physical infrastructure (transport, buildings, etc)
- The use of these technologies to engage effectively with local people
Stockholm has taken these rules and vowed to become financially, ecologically, democratically and socially sustainable by 2040. Here are just three areas where their “smart strategy” is being brought to life.
Swedes were already known for their innovation: companies like Ericsson, Electrolux, Volvo, IKEA and H&M set the standard, building world-leading international corporations. Then 20 years ago the city decided to invest heavily in an open fibre network. This turned out to be a brilliant move that today has generated billions in returns and fibre access to 100% of businesses and 95% of homes. The company is owned by the City of Stockholm itself and private corporations are able to lease fibre on equal terms with service providers.
Stockholm’s Green IT strategy seeks to reduce the environmental impact of life in Stockholm through programs such as energy efficient buildings (minimising heating costs), traffic monitoring (minimising the time spent on the road) and development of e-services (minimising paper usage). The e-Stockholm platform is centred on the provision of e-services, including political announcements, parking space booking and snow clearance. An example of district-specific smart city technology can be found in the Kista Science City region, where university, industry and government work together to develop ICT applications for implementation in a smart city strategy.
The e-Stockholm platform is further being developed to include GPS analytics, allowing residents to plan their route through the city. Stockholm introduced a congestion charge in 2007. Key bus routes are prioritised at traffic signals to reduce public transport travelling time. The “connected garage” in Tele2 arena reports the occupation status in real time and the signs in the garage are showing visitors how many available parking spots there are and where they are. Smart lighting in the Valla Torg area includes sensor controlled LED lighting for bicycle paths and walkways, self-controlled LED street lighting with preinstalled lighting plans and remote controlled LED street lighting.
Stockholm has a well-established culture as a liveable and sustainable city that offers high living standards and efficient government services. These are still key factors in this thriving city and Stockholm’s smart strategy focuses on providing enhanced e-government services to residents and visitors alike. Applying for permits, schools, elderly care or to plan the best commuting route to work, are just a few examples of popular e-services offered. Government amenities also include services for mobility and energy improvement based on real-time data collection about traffic and weather.