The Dutch city of Almere is looking into the question of how, and how far, new technologies can be deployed to make the city a safer, healthier, and more economical and habitable place.
Almere, a master-planned municipality, is the youngest city in the Netherlands. The first house was finished in 1976, and Almere became a municipality in 1984. It is the largest municipality in Flevoland with 191,495 citizens, and the seventh largest in the Netherlands. In October 2007, the city council of Almere made agreements with the government to expand the city to 350,000 inhabitants by 2030.
Together with Cisco and a consortium of industry leaders, the Municipality has developed a vision for the creation of a "smart society" that will make more intelligent use of technology, people and resources for improved urban management and growth.
Cisco, IBM, Liander, Living PlanIT and Philips will, in collaboration with the Economic Development Board Almere, start working on the creation of this smart society, and the companies have signed a Declaration Of Intent to that effect.
Intelligent Digital Infrastructure
Together with the Municipality of Almere, the consortium also intends to improve collaboration between city departments and manage the existing urban structure more efficiently through an intelligent digital infrastructure. Cisco will primarily provide infrastructure expertise concerning the promotion of collaboration between the public, the business community and the city of Almere, as well as innovation and co-creation. The ultimate goal is to stimulate employment, the economic climate, social cohesion, innovation and sustainable urban development, and to improve urban management overall.
Urban Service Platform
Almere's Urban Management Department is also planning to use this intelligent digital infrastructure for the exchange of information, services and applications between all municipal departments in areas such as public safety, traffic and mobility, waste management and the coordination of relief efforts in the event of disruptions, incidents or disasters in the city. Cisco will also start a study of how this urban service platform can efficiently contribute to the new smart society.
First Smart Society Projects
In the short term, Almere and the consortium will implement an intelligent digital infrastructure in the Waterwijk and Homeruskwartier neighborhoods that will connect individuals and public organizations, facilitating fast interaction and communication. Members of the public, businesses and official bodies will even be able to co-create new services.
In the long run, this approach in combination with an open service management platform will be applied to safety, energy, traffic, waste management and other management areas in the city. It will create new openings, including the construction of homes and other buildings with in-built energy production, next-generation energy and waste management, and the installation of smart street lighting.
"Cisco is pleased to be part of this new project with the Municipality of Almere and the members of this consortium. Almere has experienced tremendous growth and expansion over the past 20 years, attracting talent, industry, tourism and firmly establishing itself as a key competitor. The city must now innovate in the areas of safety, energy, traffic, waste management and other management areas of the city to ensure it can achieve its transformational goals of becoming a smart society. With the city's visionary leaders, technology as an enabler, and diverse competencies within the consortium, I am confident Almere will become a role model for long-term social, economic and environmental sustainability, ultimately transforming it into a Smart+Connected Community," said Wim Elfrink, EVP of Emerging Solutions and chief globalisation officer, at Cisco.
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