Friday, September 6, 2013

Smart City, Smart Choices

The Technology is coming, and a change of mind to come also.

"Plug-in hybrid cars, and electric cars of course are a chief element, but beyond strictly hardware, considering car sharing for example, mentalities are shifting from 'owning' to 'sharing', and there are projects supporting this lifestyle change."

These are wise words from Yosuke Mochizuki, author of "Smart City: the Gateway to Business". Of course, the modern urban landscape around the world is in a dire need of energy reformation, as well as implementation of new energy management systems. But with the amount of energy we have come to be dependent on just to carry out our daily routine, one has to ask the question whether technology alone will actually solve the issues associated with over-consumption.

The answer, in the opinion of many involved in Smart City endeavors, is no, there must be shifts in mentality toward saving and efficiency. At a point in time, "efficient" referred to making an important phone call while getting your ironing done with the washer running a load. This is not the case anymore, as over-consumption at peak hours with concepts such as dynamic pricing, and demand response aim to shift our energy usage to be more considerate of what we have, and of course how much we're spending.

Additionally, the idea of owning a vehicle entirely for personal usage must necessarily be a fading value. For example in Tokyo, one of the major proprietors of parking centers in urban areas has already begun a car sharing program, with the ability to return the car at any one of the parking centers they operate. Of course, the idea of "owning" your car is a major source of happiness for a lot of people, but in an age of restricted energy, perhaps weening yourself from this habit of driving everywhere is the right decision. 

Driving isn't really the only thing we have to give up. The concept of shifting our mentalities essentially refers to giving up something, whether it be driving, excessive air conditioner usage, a big hot bath everyday, etc.

What's a smart thing for you to give up?

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