What are the differences and similarities between the American and European smart city models? The answer to this question is complex, as smart cities are not only at the cutting-edge of technological development (in particular in energy, transport and network management), but are also a part of the development of new ways of coexisting for people in the management of urban areas, from transport to street cleaning and the creation of new types of services.
In a recent interview with Enel Radio head of Enel Research Sauro Pasini explained that the United States' approach is different to Europe. A study conducted on the city of Chicago that was unveiled at the conference Building a Smart City: a Comparison between Italy and the USA, which was held in Florence in April and promoted by the Association Amerigo, showed how smart city projects focused on making cities more user-friendly, in particular by creating transparent interaction between local government and inhabitants.
'Chicago's former Chief Technology Officer discussed the systems that had been implemented by the city in order to inform everyone immediately about what activities it was carrying out and in what fields, such as energy, school management, work contracts, etc.,' said Pasini.
This focus on transparency enables people to interact with and influence city management by receiving information on traffic management and the smart management of public transport and street clearing systems. This information, which is part of a relationship between the local government and the people, is given in real time in order to help citizens organise their daily lives.
'There are areas that are closer to our way of thinking regard, in particular in the smart management of cities and energy autonomy,' added Pasini. 'One of the key issues of large urban centres is the smart management of energy needs that in the future will have to be met not only by large generation systems, but also by distributed generation systems.'