What do Latin American cities need to be smart?

The ranking of the most intelligent cities on the planet provides some interesting clues for the formation of these in Latin America

What do Latin American cities need to be smart?

For five years, the IESE Cities in Motion study has been carried out. This is responsible, from an extensive list of requirements, to list the most intelligent cities on the planet.

Leer en español: ¿Qué necesitan las ciudades latinoamericanas para ser inteligentes?

According to the Inter-American Development Bank, an intelligent city is one that puts people at the center of development, incorporates Information and Communication Technologies in urban management and uses these elements as tools to stimulate the formation of an efficient government that includes processes of collaborative planning and citizen participation.

In addition, according to the Center for Globalization and Strategy of the IESE Business School, to position itself in the list, cities must excel in nine pillars:

  1. Human capital
  2. Social cohesion
  3. Economy
  4. Environment
  5. Governance
  6. Urban planification
  7. International projection
  8. Technology
  9. Mobility and transport

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Up to position number 25 of the ranking, which took into account 165 cities in 80 countries, there are 12 cities in Europe, 6 in North America, 4 in Asia, and 3 in Oceania; while the first Latin American city that figures on the list is Buenos Aires, in the 76th position.

What do Latin American cities need to be smart?

For Seoul Sang Bum Kim, in the 21st century, becoming an intelligent city is the only option, since those that do not do so will lose competitiveness and will find it more difficult to maintain infrastructures. That is why it is important to highlight some of the actions that, according to experts, Latin American cities should take into account to make an effective transition to this model.

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According to Juan Valencia, commercial manager of the Identidad IoT company, the ultimate goal of a smart city is to improve the life capacity of people. Then, instead of investing in highly complex systems, Latin America should focus on starting with small initiatives that, for example, monitor the air quality and send the measurements to administrative entities that can take the appropriate measures.

On the other hand, Nelson Farfán, expert engineer of the BICSI Congress, affirms for the newspaper Kien and Ke that one of the fundamental pillars for the construction of smart cities is the use of fiber optic infrastructure. This fiber, which is basically a channel of driving via digital, would help to transform the traditional infrastructure into a gifted one of life and sensors that will allow to obtain information and transmit it with efficiency.

In addition, according to the newspaper La Vanguardia, it is important to bet on an intelligent urban growth that has green areas and spaces for public use, accompanied by anti-pollution plans that mitigate the impact of climate change and by a constant transparency between government and citizens, better known as the philosophy of "open data".

What about LATAM?

The Portafolio newspaper highlights Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires as the two Latin American cities that appear in the ranking for their incessant fight against pollution, their commitment to carsharing, and their cycling infrastructure.

Finally, it is expected that by 2020 the digital and energy transformation of cities will grow by 19.4 percent per year, reaching a turnover of more than 75,000 million dollars.


LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez
Translated from “¿Qué necesitan las ciudades latinoamericanas para ser inteligentes?”