11 Smart Cities Around The World

There is a long and healthy tradition of "sister cities," where municipal leaders from different countries build ongoing relationships and exchange ideas.

The same spirit drives this Smarter Cities series, the second installment of our Worldcrunch Impact solutions journalism initiative. For experts in the field, a "smart city" may refer to those using the latest technology to improve urban planning and infrastructure, though we take a somewhat broader interpretation of the term to include policy and ideas that deserve attention for their...intelligence.

Here is a rapid tour of 11 smart cities around the world and how they make a difference in the lives of their residents.

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Society

Face In The Mirror: Dutch Hairdressers Trained To Recognize Domestic Violence

Early detection and accessible help are essential in the fight against domestic violence. Hairdressers in the Dutch province of North Brabant are now being trained to identify when their customers are facing abuse at home.

Hair Salon Rob Peetoom in Rotterdam

Daphne van Paassen

TILBURG — The three hairdressers in the bare training room of the hairdressing company John Beerens Hair Studio are absolutely sure: they have never seen signs of domestic violence among their customers in this city in the Netherlands. "Or is that naïve?"

When, a moment later, statistics appear on the screen — one in 20 adults deals with domestic violence, as well as one or two children per class — they realize: this happens so often, they must have victims in their chairs.

All three have been in the business for years and have a loyal clientele. Sometimes they have customers crying in the chair because of a divorce. According to Irma Geraerts, 45, who has her own salon in Reusel, a village in the North Brabant region, they're part-time psychologists. "A therapist whose hair I cut explained to me that we have an advantage because we touch people. We are literally close. The fact that we stand behind people and make eye contact via the mirror also helps."

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