Bruno Berthon: Smart cities: can they work?

Bruno Berthon for the Guardian Professional Network: "Amsterdam is lauded as the most energy-efficient city in Europe but emissions are rising. What lessons can be learnt? Much of the cities talk is about smart technologies: smart grids, smart buildings, water systems and intelligent transport. But it's clear that they cannot be seen in isolation. All too often, fragmented projects – often of a prestige kind – have resulted in unsustainable and costly ventures. Central to the success of intelligent cities is an open platform that unites all government departments, services and technologies....If there's one city in Europe that seems to be in the vanguard of energy-efficiency, it's Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Smart City initiative is held up as the example of how to retrofit a city to improve living and economic conditions and reduce carbon emissions. But, Ger Baron, who leads the initiative, admits that the city's emissions are rising by 1% a year and are on track to have risen by 30% by 2025 against 1990 levels. That puts its ambition to reduce emissions by 40% by 2025 into the clear light of day. Is it achievable?"

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