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Future

Smart Cities International: Montreal Ideas, Arab Voices, Buenos Aires Lights

Here is a preview of our exclusive newsletter to keep up-to-date and stay inspired by Smart City innovations from around the world.

Montreal by night
Montreal by night
Emily Liedel
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JOURNALISTIC EXCELLENCE·TRANSLATED INTELLIGENCE
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Hello City Folk!


Technological innovations do not exist in a vacuum. A city can have the most advanced transport grid or water-management system, but real intelligence begins by being engaged with local residents and providing ways for them to have a voice in the plans for the future. Or put another way: A city can't be truly "smart" if the fundamentals of democracy are missing.


This week, in addition to other smart city news, we’re looking at how cities across the Arab world are trying to develop using "smart city" technology, but are still struggling to find ways to include citizens in the process. We’ll also look at how Montreal has become one of the "smart" leaders precisely because it has focused on ways to involve citizens in the decision-making process.


— Emily Liedel

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LIGHTS FOR BUENOS AIRES

The Argentine capital has finished changing all of its 90,000 traffic lights to LED bulbs, La Razon reports (Spanish). This seemingly simple change will reduce the city’s energy usage for traffic lights by approximately 90%, and is also expected to increase road safety.

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 1.1 BILLION

According to a study by Gartner, smart cities will use 1.1 billion different "smart," interconnected objects by the end of 2015. Homes and commercial buildings account for 45% of that total.

SMART ARAB CITIES

With 330 million inhabitants, a 3% annual increase in population and high rates of rural exodus, the Arab world is looking at both opportunities and challenges when it comes to developing its cities. And according to a recent round table organized by the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, many Arab cities are approaching this challenge from a "smart city" standpoint, La Tribune reports (French). There are automated metro lines in Dubai, and Algiers and Casablanca have both recently opened state-of-the-art tram lines. Dubai also has a smart electricity grid, while Riyadh is taking steps to build public transportation and move away from private vehicles. Nonetheless, participants at the forum insisted that cities throughout the Arab world still need to work on one other key pillar of a truly smart city: citizen engagement and input in the development of urban spaces.

INDIA’S NEW SMART CITY

India is planning to build its first top-down smart city on the site of a former Special Economic Zone in Haryana, The Times of India reports. The site in northern India is about 800 acres and is part of a recent push to increase the number of smart cities across the country.


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Economy

What's Driving The New Migrant Exodus From Cuba

Since Cuba reopened its borders last December after COVID closures, the number of people leaving the island has gone up significantly. Migration has been a constant in Cuban life since the 1950s. But this article in Cuba's independent news outlet El Toque shows just how important migration is to understand the ordeals of everyday life on the island.

March for the 69th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.

Loraine Morales Pino

HAVANA — Some 157,339 Cubans crossed the border into the United States between Oct. 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, according to the U.S. Border Patrol — a figure significantly higher than the one recorded during the 1980 Mariel exodus, when a record 125,000 Cubans arrived in the U.S. over a period of seven months.

Migrating has once again become the only way out of the ordeal that life on the island represents.

Cubans of all ages who make the journey set off towards a promise. They prefer the unknown to the grim certainty that the Cuban regime offers them.

Migration from Cuba has been a constant since the 1950s.

In 1956, the largest number of departures was recorded in the colonial and republican periods, with the arrival of 14,953 Cubans in the United States, the historical destination of migratory flows. Since the January 1959 revolution, that indicator has been exceeded 30 times.

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