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A paper by PwC discusses the rise of ‘cognitive’ cities and contends that intelligent and responsive systems will enable urban environments to become sentient.

The transformation from smart to cognitive cities – when cities could become ‘sentient’ – is the focus of a new paper by global professional services firm PwC.

The authors of “Cognitive Cities: A journey to intelligent urbanism” contend that such cities go beyond the establishment of connected technological ecosystems and integrate advanced technologies to create “intelligent and responsive urban systems”.

Cognitive versus smart cities

The paper seeks to demystify the concept of cognitive cities and explains while smart cities are reactive, making services available and accessible to citizens when required, cognitive cities are proactive and focus on personalised, intelligent services delivery.

Cognitive cities also deliver services proactively when needed by understanding city and citizen’s evolving needs and leverage cross-sectoral data-sharing to deliver comprehensive services, while operational services become autonomous.

The paper discusses how to make a city cognitive, provides a framework and examines the key enablers. It also provides examples of both greenfield and brownfield cognitive cities, including The Line in Saudi Arabia, part of the Neom development, and Telosa in Texas.

“In an era marked by accelerated urbanisation and a relentless pace of technological innovation, the concept of smart cities has taken root and flourished,” said Hazem Galal, global cities and local government leader and global smart mobility co-leader, PwC Middle East. “However, today, we envision cities that not only embody intelligence but also exhibit the capability to think, adapt, and evolve in harmony with the dynamic needs of their inhabitants.

“The concept of cognitive cities represents a pivotal juncture in our urban evolution, beyond smart cities. These cities are planned and operated by insightful data, inspired by innovation, and devoted to enhancing their urban services.”

The authors write that brownfield implementation involves transforming existing urban centres into cognitive hubs by integrating emerging technologies, adapting established infrastructures, institutions and regulation to enable the delivery of adaptive urban services. It gives Singapore, Barcelona, Seoul, Helsinki and Hong Kong as examples of brownfield cognitive cities.

The paper also reflect on the potential of cognitive cities to reshape how cities are governed for more sustainable, resilient, and prosperous futures.

“We are in an era where we are witnessing firsthand the transformative power of technology and data in shaping the cities of tomorrow,” said Rajat Chowdhary, partner, technology consulting, PwC Middle East. “The concept of cognitive cities, where data-driven intelligence converges with urban living, represents a pivotal moment in the evolution of our urban environments.

“It compels us to reimagine how cities function, adapt, and thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. Cognitive cities represent the pinnacle of our aspirations – a vision where cities become not just smart but also sentient. Cognitive cities are an ode to human ingenuity and a commitment to building a technologically advanced and profoundly human-centric world.”


Quelle/Source: SmartCitiesWorld, 17.11.2023

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