California and the Netherlands sign deal on smart cities
The Netherlands and California have been working on developing smart cities since 2013. Last weekend a new deal was signed between the Sunshine State and the Netherlands formalising the Smart Cities initiative.
The S4C project has set up partnerships between universities and companies in both the Netherlands and the US, such as Dutch knowledge centres Brainport and TNO and companies in Silicon Valley.
Image: TU Eindhoven
The ever-expanding world population means that smart solutions have to be found fast. California currently has a population of 38 million, by 2015 it will have 50 million people to house, feed and transport. That is why one of issues the Smart Cities initiative is focussing on is electric transport.
The cities of the future will also have to be compacter, which means building upwards. The air will have to be cleaner which means bringing down polluting exhaust fumes. And congestion has to be tackled once and for all, which means cars on the road which communicate via internet systems to avoid traffic jams and accidents.
California has been developing autonomous electric cars connected to the internet for years, while the Netherlands has been concentrating on driverless cars connected to the road and other cars. Now both are realising that the future requires a mixture of these technologies and that is where they can help each other out.
However it is not just the technology that needs to be shared. It is just as important to have political concensus. Nowhere in the world is there such as direct line to the White House than in California.
Autonomous transport will have a huge impact on city planning. Less asphalt, fewer parking lots, smarter traffic lights. In a share economy, we can get around just as easily, but we will need fewer cars to do so. Joint ventures like the one between General Motors and ‘taxi’ company Lyft, are a sign of the times.
Smart cities is about more than just mobility, urban Uberfication will affect denizens, municipal budgets and infrastructure. Both the Netherlands and California are leading the way, by working together they can resolve mutual issues. The densely populated Netherlands can advise California on compact cities, and the Dutch can learn a lot from the Sunshine State which has vast knowledge about organic agriculture and clean air.
Taking America by storm
To smooth the road, Technical University of Einhoven students are visiting the States on their 80-day journey around the world on a self-charging electric motor bike, Storm. They are spending 25 days visiting 40 American companies and organisations. Taking America by storm, I daresay.