Although there is no official definition of “Smart City”, many cities in Latin America have been acknowledged for the implementation of technological solutions to tackle common big-city problems. We first take a look at the most significant cases, before examining the Argentine capital in greater depth.
Santiago in Chile stands out amongst Latin American capitals for its sustainable mobility. Apart from having the highest subway use per capita in the region, the city has implemented a bicycle sharing system and a pilot smart electricity grid that includes electric vehicles. Again in the area of sustainable mobility, Bogotá boasts the best bus rapid transit system and was the first city to implement electric taxis.
México D.F., in addition to being a leader in research on digital government and open data policies, also has the most extensive bicycle sharing system. Moreover, the city stands out for its smog-absorbing buildings. Another unconventional solution has been implemented in Rio de Janeiro, in the form of landslide monitoring and prevention technology, for application during periods of intense rain. The Colombian city of Medellin opted for a mobility system to help the most vulnerable sectors of society, through the installation of electric escalators and an aerial cable car integrated with the city’s underground rail system.
Curitiba was a pioneering city in terms of sustainable solutions of this type. It implemented the first bus rapid transit system in 1974 and the city was designed with numerous green spaces for the purpose of retaining rainwater and minimising the need to relocate citizens.
The case of Buenos Aires: a smart city fosters sustainable growth
A number of “smart” initiatives have been undertaken over the last 8 years under the management of the current Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri. These include a long-term territorial and environmental plan (Modelo Territorial 2010-2060), which features an innovative Urban Sustainability Index for investment assessment. The first Master Plan for Tree Planting (Plan Maestro de Arbolado) and the Buenos Aires 2030 action plan against climate change were also drawn up in this period.
Facundo Nahuel Panelati | Consultor en Subsecretaría de Higiene, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires Consultant at the Subsecretariat of Hygiene, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires