Nowadays cities are a cancer that spreads out of control wherever they settle.

Fernando Follos, Jacobo Moreno.

If one of the essential premises of a Smart City is to meet the needs and expectations of its citizens, it is essential that the city guarantees availability of resources and a development environment compatible with the best quality of life for its citizens, which implies that:

  1. The availability and quality of the resources that the citizen requires, which will form part of the inflows or supplies to the city, such as: quality water, clean air, a stable and sufficient energy sourcing, a supply of quality food, as well as an adequate distribution of the rest of the necessary resources (equipment, machines, materials, clothing, etc.), are guaranteed at all times.
  2. Means are available to reduce and treat environmental impacts caused by the use of the above resources, which in most cases end up generating emissions, spills and/or residues, as well as energy losses, which affect the quality of the city, its environment and even its own resources.

To achieve compatibility between the environment and the city, and thus procure a city that can be called “Smart City”, it is evidently necessary to resort to concepts of Cycle Closure and Circular Economy, applying them entirely to the flows that constitute the services of said city

It is not about transforming the environment to accommodate the city, but about adapting the city so that it integrates into the environment without affecting its absorptive capacity.

It is about adapting the resource usage in the city to the supply capacity of the environment in which it is based, taking into account the temporal evolution of said usage.

It is about self-generating the resources needed for the operation of the city, promoting more sustainable options, such as indoor cultivation or the use of renewable energies and self-generation.

The aim is to provide services and promote life styles compatible with the concept of urban sustainability, and to integrate citizen and city into the environment in which they live, adopting models of sustainable mobility, bioclimatic construction, etc.

But above all, and fundamentally, it is about closing the cycles opened in each case and ensuring that the outputs generated in the operation of a city (waste, spills, emissions, noise, light pollution, etc.) do not turn into environmental impacts but in consumer resources. It is about reusing waste flows and reconverting them into new resources for the city itself or the environment that supports it.

Our urban waste has to be converted into new materials or useful energy for the city, our wastewater is nothing more than water with organic matter (carbon, after all, that can also serve the sustainability of the city), all our waste flows are, in fact, susceptible to become new resources for our city. And this should be the main goal of a Smart City, to generate as much as possible a circular economy based on the reuse of waste flows creating high value products for the city.

Today this may seem like a pipe dream, but this is necessarily the process that our cities must go through if we want to call them Smart Cities and meet their future environmental sustainability goals.

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