Smart City Technology: Promoting Equality Between Citizens of Different Socioeconomic Backgrounds

Shela Duong
smart city equality
Illustration: © IoT For All

What Is Smart City Technology?

As cities steadily grow, we might want to ask ourselves, how can we improve the quality of life for our citizens? According to Deloitte’s Connectivity & Mobile Trends 2021 Survey, the average number of connected devices within a household is 25. This means that each household can produce a significant amount of data that the city could use to help drive important decision making. But how exactly would that work? To better understand, we have to introduce the term: smart city technology.

Smart city technology occurs when cities leverage technology to develop and promote sustainable practices to combat the challenges that materialize with urbanization. Smart city technology requires cities to have an increased amount of IoT devices in order to send and receive data. These devices can range from a smart phone, laptop, motion sensors, and more. Once these devices are connected to the internet, data can be shared with important city officials. This begins cultivating an environment where smart city equality is possible. It can then help the right people make intelligent decisions to improve efficiencies, generate economic growth, and increase the livelihood of its residents within the city.

Three Ways Smart City Technology Promotes Equality

Promoting equality between citizens of different socioeconomic backgrounds is one of the most important challenges city officials face. Moreover, this topic is difficult to address, since it encompasses various challenges that contribute to the inequality between citizens. Let’s take a look at three issues of equality, and the the three solutions posed by smart city technology.

Safety & Security

Issue

There is a clear difference in crime levels between neighborhoods. Citizens from a lower socioeconomic class tend to reside in neighborhoods with higher crime rates. Burglars are more likely to target disadvantaged neighborhoods than wealthier neighborhoods due to the social disconnect between the residents.

Solution

Although technology will not be able to completely rid a city of crime, technology can be a powerful tool for law enforcement to solve and prevent crimes. Using machine learning that processes data collected from IoT devices such as home security systems and surveillance cameras around the streets, we can predict hot spots for crimes and populate those areas with more law enforcement. As long as the city has data, we can provide the support needed to create a stable environment to disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Transportation

Issue

The importance of having any kind of transportation is that it gives users access to jobs, healthcare, and food. Unfortunately, many citizens from a lower socioeconomic class do not own personal vehicles. The city must help aid residents with commuting from one place to another through a variety of different modes of transportation.

Solution

Incorporating technologic modes of transportation can help lessen the gap between citizens of different socioeconomic classes. A few examples of smart city technology that could be incorporated to help this problem would be the following:

  • Ride shares
  • Smart city buses
  • Electric scooters
  • Bicycles

These smart city technologies allow citizens to travel farther within the city, opening up opportunities for economic growth. We see this happening when city busses are being connected through IoT devices. Users will be able to access live bus tracking data to intelligently assume when their bus will arrive and can determine whether they need to use a different route. If users do not feel comfortable with ride share services or public transportation, the other options of electric scooters or bikes are increasing in popularity. All of these modes of transportation are great resources for users from lesser socioeconomic backgrounds who may not own vehicles, as it allows them the access to more job opportunities further away.

Health

Issue

Many reports indicate that a resident’s socioeconomic status has impact on their health. Residents from lower socioeconomic backgrounds tend to have lesser life expectancies, are more prone to illnesses, and have less access to healthcare than people in higher socioeconomic backgrounds.

Solution

By addressing health issues, the city can help improve equality. This can be done in several, specific ways.

  • Telehealth options can be made more accessible to those in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods who may not be able to take days off. Telehealth allows people to set up consultants with medical professionals in the comfort of their own homes, on their own time.
  • Cold chain management IoT solutions can be introduced to help monitor and maintain temperatures set by companies and alert users to ensure that medical necessities, such as vaccines, do not go to waste.

Especially during the outbreak of COVID-19, it is important for residents within a city to get vaccinated. There are many factors that affect a resident’s access to vaccines. Residents who live in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods tend to have a more difficult time accessing vaccines compared to someone from a higher socioeconomic neighborhood. Getting these vaccines to areas with higher needs is crucial for the overall health of the city. With smart city technology, we can deliver a healthier living environment and improve the livelihoods of residents.

Smart City Technology: Growing With Cities

As cities continue to grow, so does the IoT technology that comes with it. Smart city technology focuses on making the city more accessible to all residents. This creates the opportunity for better analysis on the ways we can be more efficient, stimulate economic growth, and increase the overall wellness of citizens. Through the incorporation of smart city technology, we can begin reducing the inequality between different socioeconomic neighborhoods.

Author
Shela Duong
Shela Duong - Product Designer, Leverege
Shela is a Product Designer at Leverege and graduated from the University of California, Irvine. She has a passion for public transportation and loves working on products that push for a more sustainable living environment. Outside of work, she en...
Shela is a Product Designer at Leverege and graduated from the University of California, Irvine. She has a passion for public transportation and loves working on products that push for a more sustainable living environment. Outside of work, she en...

Contributors
Leverege
Leverege
Leverege is accelerating the digital transformation of organizations by helping them successfully develop and deploy enterprise asset management solutions. IoT Changes Everything™
Leverege is accelerating the digital transformation of organizations by helping them successfully develop and deploy enterprise asset management solutions. IoT Changes Everything™