Updated: Mar 3, 2019
A Smart City can be described as one that applies information and communication technologies (ICT) with the aim of providing an infrastructure that guarantees sustainable development and increases in the citizens’ quality of life. Latin America is a region still under development; therefore the cities in this list are in developing countries, unlike the rankings of North America and Europe. Most of these cities still have problems with traffic, pollution and government inefficiency, notwithstanding this they can still be considered Smart Cities.
Smart Cities in Latin America
- Santiago: The Chilean capital still struggles with air pollution and congestion, but it has the lowest corruption in the region, a stable economy and low inflation. It also highlights support for entrepreneurship through programs such as Start-Up Chile and programs of organisations, universities and state agencies to make the city smarter, implementing different pilot projects across the city.
- Mexico City: Mexico City stands out for Rutgers University digital research and open data initiatives. Incentives for the construction of intelligent and ecological buildings are should also be highlighted, including experimenting with technology that allows a building to absorb smog. In terms of transportation, it is noted that the city has some 4,000 public bikes on lease, which is expected to increase to 6,000 in the short term.
- Bogota: The Colombian capital stands out for its work to improve congestion problems, thanks to the system of fast transit buses used by 1.65 million people a day. The bus corridors have interconnected bicycle paths, and have begun to integrate electric taxis in partnership with the BYD Company.
- Buenos Aires: The city has urban renewal in several areas, where areas have been created for technology, design, entertainment, art, etc. In terms of transportation, the rapid transit bus system has been expanded and infrastructure for cyclists has been improved. It also highlights the existence of the “Ministry of Modernisation”, dedicated to making the city more intelligent.
- Rio de Janeiro: Rio has received a major injection of capital to improve the city. The creation of an integrated operations centre, created in partnership with IBM, allows real-time monitoring of criminal activity, traffic, emergency data and video surveillance cameras. The centre aims to predict atmospheric events, allowing the authorities to warn communities about any unrest, traffic problems and other issues.
- Medellin: The city is often quoted as the smartest city in Latin America having been through a great transformation in recent years. Emphasis was put on the incorporation of gondolas and escalators that seek to integrate the population of the hills with the rest of the city. It has also invested in a metro system, improving libraries and museums, and boosting entrepreneurship.
- Montevideo: It is a city of less than 2 million inhabitants, and therefore more compact than other cities of the region, boasting according to other rankings the best quality of life in Latin America. Even though it has problems with public transport, ecological buildings and digital government, one point in favour of the city is the culture of technology and entrepreneurship, with universities having active programs to promote technological entrepreneurship. Uruguay is the largest software exporter per capita in Latin America.
We look forward to reviewing Latin American cities again soon and will be excited to see some new smart cities added to the list!