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Smart City Planning Should Focus On Users

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Energy professionals, city planners and policymakers have been too caught up in the technology underpinning smart grids and smart cities, says Pep Salas Prat, Lecturer at the University of Barcelona and a course director at The Institute of Sustainable Energy by InnoEnergy (iSE). He argues that smart infrastructure is only worthwhile if it is built with the needs of people at its heart. Cities around the world dream of becoming smart cities, he writes, but all too often their efforts lack a coherent strategy.

“A sackful of sensors does not make a city smart. And unless carefully analysed, all the data in the world will not help city planners and power professionals to make better decisions. Rather, they need only collect the right data at the right time to gain the insight with which to innovate," said Prof. Prat.

Unfortunately, that is not what many city planners are doing, the professor observes. Many city planners and energy professionals have fallen in love with smart grid technology. They know that it has huge potential and many think that they just need to apply it to achieve their aims. This approach is back to front, he says. Instead of swooning over the solution, those tasked with designing our smart cities should be focused on winning the hearts of the end users: those who live in the cities and whose problems urban planners hope to solve, he further explained.

InnoEnergy has opened a course for professionals led by Prof. Prat that is entitled, “Smart Grids for Smart Cities: Towards Zero Emissions


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