Smart Cities: Facing Future Challenges

BARKA More and more people live in cities worldwide. However, geographical space, food and energy are limited. According to latest research, by 2050 around 9 billion people will live on our planet. Researchers suggest that we would need 6 more planets if we continue with the current lifestyle. How will future cities look like? What are the challenges for so-called smart cities?

On this topic The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) recently conducted a morning event for a group of students from the French School Muscat. “Generating energy from nature to reduce the CO2 emissions and reducing energy consumption will be important issues for future cities,” said Dr. Oualid Ben Ali, Head of the Training and Smart Solutions Center at GUtech and president of FutureCitiesCouncil.org. He has been researching the topic for many years. During his talk to the students, he referred to smart cities with zero CO2 emissions like Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Dr Oualid suggested that smart cities will offer many opportunities for new jobs that do not exist today and that students should be open and prepared for these challenges.

”Smart or future cities are expected to host revolutionary solutions for daily life challenges, including health, education, logistics, social problems, and transportation. To address these challenges, the so called ‘Internet of Things’ is attracting increasing attention for its promising capabilities to collect, process, and share data about a wide range of objects and events in timely fashion.” said Dr. Nafaa Jabeur, Head of the Computer Science Department at GUtech. Dr. Nafaa presented a newly developed smart car based on a mobile app and Arduino hardware. He also showed to the students how such tools could be used to create simple and efficient customized solutions to control house appliances.

Towards the end of the morning session, the Urban Planning Department of GUtech asked the students to draw their ideas about future cities, which included ideas on introducing solar and water energy, green houses and more public transportation (pictured).

As part of GUtech’s community engagement, the university offers regular talks on various topics to schools.

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