Stockholm has been named the smartest city in the world, thanks to its innovative solutions on the environment, digitalisation and social sustainability. Another factor was the city’s leadership in the GrowSmarter European project, according to the jury. The city wants to become climate positive by 2040, which would make Stockholm the first in the world. Sweden aims to become carbon neutral by 2045.
A smart city is a technologically modern urban area that uses different types of electronic methods, voice activation methods and sensors to collect specific data. Information gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources and services efficiently; in return, that data is used to improve the operations across the city. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, buildings and assets that is then processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, utilities, water supply networks, waste, crime detection, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services.
The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT), and various physical devices connected to the IoT (Internet of things) network to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. Smart city technology allows city officials to interact directly with both community and city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city and how the city is evolving. ICT is used to enhance quality, performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to increase contact between citizens and government. Smart city applications are developed to manage urban flows and allow for real-time responses. A smart city may therefore be more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple “transactional” relationship with its citizens.
Stockholm’s smart city technology is underpinned by the Stokab dark fibre system which was developed in 1994 to provide a universal fibre optic network across Stockholm. Private companies are able to lease fibre as service providers on equal terms. The company is owned by the City of Stockholm itself. Within this framework, Stockholm has created a Green IT strategy. The Green IT program seeks to reduce the environmental impact of Stockholm through IT functions 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. This is further being developed through GPS analytics, allowing residents to plan their route through the city. An example of district-specific smart city technology can be found in the Kista Science City region. This region is based on the triple helix concept of smart cities, where university, industry and government work together to develop ICT applications for implementation in a smart city strategy.
A smart city utilizes digitalization and new technology to simplify and improve the life for its residents, its visitors, and businesses. And to offer the Stockholmers the highest quality of life and the best environment for business. In the Smart City, new smart services are constantly created to make the city even better. The way forward to make Stockholm a smart and connected city is to, via innovation, openness and connectivity, make the city more economically, ecologically, democratically, and socially sustainable.
Smart city is not just a beautiful slogan, but involves all aspects of life. The successful case of Stockholm demonstrates that there are many basic factors that constitute a smart city, and interconnection must be realized efficiently. The basis of the Stockholm Smart City is to integrate all the basic elements of life on the same platform, the so-called ICT.
Imagine that if various service providers still retain their own set of systems, the interconnection advantages of smart cities will be greatly weakened. After all, many activities in life cannot be simply classified into a single functional department, such as water supply, power supply, network communication, heating, etc., but the complex interaction of these basic services. The Stockholm ICT platform implements one-stop management of all basic elements, which truly reflects the superiority of a smart city, and citizens can also enjoy real convenience.
A smart city is a sustainable city. The Smart City is made possible through connectivity, publicly accessible data, IT platforms that can communicate with each other, sensors and other technologies. The developments in digitalization and new technology create opportunities and benefit all segments of society. Old and young, IT-savvy and those less familiar with IT. Stockholm also has a long history of being a leader in information and communications technology with many prominent companies, startups as well as established multinationals.
In order to build smart and sustainable cities, different processes and functions need to work in harmony with each other. Still, each building block is complex in itself. Sweden has lots of experience in how to connect all the necessary pieces, in combination with world-leading companies and expertise in the fields of research and innovation within a number of areas. Here, we have gathered information from some of these areas of expertise, together with best practices from Sweden within the areas.
Smart City Elements
Smart City Sweden gathers best practice from Sweden within five areas: Climate, Energy & Environment, Mobility, Digitalisation, Urban planning and Social sustainability. The Smart City Sweden head office is located in Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm, one of the world’s most famous sustainable city developments. But there is a lot more to discover in other parts of Sweden.
Digitalisation is the foundation of a smart city. With almost 70 % of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, the increased pressure on cities will need new, innovative solutions. At the same time as the digital revolution is happening, humanity is facing the threat of a climate crisis. The link between digitalisation and sustainability offers both opportunities and challenges.
Digital technologies enable sustainable innovation and can help solve challenges such as an increased demand of energy and smart transportation. Social aspects like safety in cities and the availability of education and health services are other examples of how digital technology can transform cities. The rapid change to a digital society also puts pressure on society to adjust to a new world. Sweden is world leading in digital competitiveness and innovation and offers solutions within areas such as renewable energy, smart grids, water, waste-to-energy and sustainable construction, that help shape a better tomorrow.
Climate, Energy & Environment
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Energy-driven consumption of fossil fuels has increased the amount of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, leading to a rise in the land surface air temperature. To avoid global warming over 1,5 degrees, global carbon emissions must be reduced by 45 % worldwide by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. Societies all over the world do not only need to shift to a more sustainable way of life, but also adapt to challenges such as warmer temperatures, extreme weather events and sea-level rise.
By implementing smart and sustainable solutions from Sweden, a sustainable society, that does not contribute to a rise of CO2 emissions, can be achieved, and at the same time is prepared for the challenges that cities have to face in the future.
Sweden offers innovative solutions within energy, waste management, mobility and many other areas related to sustainable development. By using solutions such as waste to energy systems, where waste is recycled as district heating, electricity, biogas, biofertilizer and materials, the amount of waste is reduced and used as a renewable and environmentally safe energy source.
The need for sustainable and smart mobility is becoming increasingly critical in urban areas all over the world. To create a green, smart and sustainable city, mobility is key. Today, the transport sector is still to a large extent dependent on fossil fuels. As cities are becoming more populated, policy instruments and behavioral changes are needed to meet the increasing challenges, as well as smarter and more efficient technical solutions.
Sweden has a long history of sustainable transport and Swedish companies are strongly committed to offering cutting-edge solutions across all modes of mobility. In addition to biofuels, Sweden has dedicated resources to the development and implementation of electric and autonomous car technologies, batteries, charging infrastructure and fuel cells.
Cities around the world are growing and increasingly more people are moving from rural to urban areas. Today, 55 % of the world’s population lives in cities, and by 2050, the number is expected to be about 68 %. Increased urbanization has many positive outcomes and can connect people, reduce poverty and foster human development. At the same time, the increased pressure on cities leads to a stronger need to build sustainable cities and offer public services such as sustainable public transport systems, waste management and efficient energy solutions.
In order to deliver these solutions and create cities that are sustainable in the longer term, new technological solutions – together with good governance that consider the social aspects of sustainability – are needed.
Sweden works to create smart cities where social sustainability plays a major part. Green areas help create meeting places, and they also play the role of air cleaners, water collectors and noise reducers. By building in favour of bikes and pedestrians, car traffic has been reduced in the city centres, leading to better health among the residents.
When talking about sustainable development, three elements of sustainability are often mentioned: environmental, economic and social sustainability. To gain and maintain a democratic, sustainable and resilient society, the three parts of sustainability are equally important.
Social sustainability focuses on individuals’ quality of life and how a sustainable, healthy and just society can be created where everyone is included, regardless of gender, sex, background or disability. A part of social sustainability is to involve citizens, which is expected to lead to increased understanding, engagement and knowledge. Depending on the local context, different issues are prioritized.
Sweden is engaged in a wide range of issues related to social sustainability, where human rights are at the core. Sweden is ranked as one of the best countries when it comes to gender equality and is home to many entrepreneurs and start-ups within social innovation.
Smart City platfrom
In the city of Stockholm’s vision 2030, with the help of the city of Stockholm’s e-strategy, the smart city laying the foundation for the reality of the future, an attractive, world-class IT capital. Stockholm is growing rapidly and enjoying a positive stage in its development, where many people are attracted to the city to realize their dreams of a good life. The high ambitions within the area of climate and the environment must be matched by efforts for a socially cohesive city.
To achieve the City’s environmental goals, efficient cooperation between inhabitants, the private industry, the public sector, and many other players is crucial. Environmental and information technology are both key priorities in developing a sustainable society.
The smart city platfrom is the meeting place for Stockholm residents. Several exciting services are being developed there. You can read about this development already now, apply for preschool, and much more. It will also be easier and more attractive to run a business, which will benefit Stockholm’s business community. Citizens are different and with very different needs. From those needs, we can create opportunities. On the smart city platfrom and in the city. Stockholm is a fantastic city offering many services.
The smart city platfrom shape Stockholm together with its users. The smart city platfrom made the City are all accessible. The City of Stockholm has the very important task of reporting what is happening in Stockholm and the political decisions taken in the City Hall. We do this by publishing the information in the streets and public places.
The smart city platfrom providing broadband for all and new services for mobile phones. An exciting development of the geographic information systems of the future is also taking place. They show the way with flexible route descriptions and allow you to study future city plans. With new technology, a lot of things become easier. This is all designed to make Stockholm a more accessible, more attractive and more modern city to live and work in.
Smart City Projects
To implement the strategy and to create a foundation for the continued development towards becoming a smart city, the Executive Administration Office has initiated a Program for a Smart and Connected City. The program with the mission to lead the implementation of the Strategy for a Smart and Connected City. The program operates the priority projects, where new innovative solutions are tested and implemented in the agencies of the city.
The program will develop a comprehensive structure for the city’s technical platforms in dialogue with the prioritised projects. The platform should be able to administer advanced digital techniques such as internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) as well as to share data with residents and local businesses. Common standards for the administration of open and shared data will be developed and used so that the residents easily can access their own data and to facilitate the development of innovative services based on the data of the city.
The projects are carried out together with concerned agencies within the city, as well as with actors from the academy and industry. The program and the projects should consider how issues of ethics and security are affected. The program shall also create conditions for the continued development of the smart city by being a hub for collaboration and exchange of knowledge.
Around Hötorget, Vasaparken, and several other places in Stockholm, smart bins are deployed. The so-called Big Belly-waste baskets are fitted with solar-powered software, mobile devices and sensors that report in real time when they are about to become full and it is time for emptying. They also have built-in technology that packs the waste.
Regular bins need to be emptied 1–3 times per day. As the smart bins are solar powered and packs the waste, they only need to be emptied four times a week. This means fewer garbage collection runs, lower costs and reduced emissions.
A digital lift is ongoing within the Stockholm city’s educational areas; WiFi in all school buildings, the establishment of a new educational platform, the procurement of new infrastructure that will respond to the needs of the schools, an administrative support to manage the schools’ approximately 30.000 tablets and 45.000 computers to mention some.
Another digital lift is a tool for teachers to self-assess their digital maturity. Today, the self-assessment tool is used by Stockholm’s approximately 12.000 teachers in primary and secondary schools as part of the regular quality work. All secondary schools have raised their digital maturity since they started using the self-assessment tool. The greatest increase relates to knowledge sharing and the use of digital content in teaching, with an increase average of 30 percent since the tool was introduced.
The program also includes following projects: Technical conditions; Open and shared data; Smart locks; Smart lightening; Smart traffic. These projects will get more consultation and application in the near future.