The world’s population reached seven billion in 2012, is predicted to grow to eight billion by 2024 and reach nine billion in 2045. Much of the growth will happen in poorer countries, as fertility rates remain high and life expectancy increases.
The predicted growth coupled with changes in technology will enable billions of people to move out of poverty which, in turn, will increase demand on our natural resources.
As a result, the traditional approaches taken by wealthy countries to economic development are no longer sustainable and must change.
The need for a new approach globally may seem distant to us locally but the truth is we are already affected, as the price of everyday goods increase.
The way forward is challenging and requires new thinking to ensure the sustainability of our planet, our cities and our region and the development of a fairer and more inclusive society.
A number of cities around the world have embraced the concept of sustainability to develop as Smart Cities and there are similar opportunities for non-city areas to develop as Smart Regions.
The idea of a Smart Region is focused on using technology to manage data to improve the ‘triple bottom line’ of economic, social and environmental value.
The concept has proven its commercial value and is used to manage cities, public health systems and private sector industries.
From a Smart Planet perspective, the extent to which energy, security, finance and climate change affect us all mean we have to think differently about the planet and how to manage it.
From a Smart City perspective, the management of data to inform decisions and allocate resources is seen as important as traditional infrastructure and utilities such as electricity, water and sewerage.
From a Smart Region perspective, the purpose is to use technology to analyse data, create value and develop a unique proposition for the region.
The benefits of using technology to manage data are established in retail, manufacturing, healthcare and the public sector, as they create jobs and attract investment.
We are living in a new world and new thinking is needed to learn from the past and build a ‘smart’ future.
SO, the use of technology to manage data and build economic, social and environmental value is becoming an established discipline and the regions that embrace it will thrive.
What do you think?
Can a Smart Region create jobs?