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04 Jul. 2023


Smart City Ukraine: what it is and how it works in Ukrainian realities



Smart City Ukraine: what it is and how it works in Ukrainian realities

The smart city system is a global trend that first began to be used in 2009. Find out what is wrong with Smart City in Ukrainian cities and at what stage is the technological development of this system in Ukraine

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Order Visit Ukraine branded merchandise and support Ukraine (worldwide delivery)

The term Smart City has different interpretations. However, the general concept of a smart city system is based on three simple principles: comfort, convenience, and safety of residents. And the main tool that helps to create the so-called Smart Cities is modern technologies and services.

Let's look at what the concept of smart cities entails and how it is implemented in Ukraine.

What does a Smart City look like and how many are there in the world?

The whole world is actively working to implement the Smart system in their countries. Today, there are about 2,500 cities that have implemented this concept to varying degrees.

In general, there are at least 8 important components of a smart city:

● Public transportation management and traffic monitoring systems;

● Systems for monitoring air and water quality;

● e-government and democracy tools;

● "smart lighting";

● uninterrupted and free access to Wi-Fi on the streets;

● fast and high-quality collection and analysis of BigData;

● systems to ensure the security of users' personal data;

● introduction of public services for the population in electronic format.

The main goal of a true "smart city" is to improve the quality of life of local residents. This means ensuring economic, social, and environmental sustainability. However, each city determines the directions of smart development independently, as each city has its own problems and peculiarities.

The best smart cities in the world are Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, Helsinki, Copenhagen, London, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, and Reykjavik.

What is the situation with Smart Cities in Ukraine?

Based on global experience, Ukraine started implementing the smart city concept in 2015. Today, one form or another of the Smart City system operates in Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Mukachevo, Drohobych, Zaporizhzhia, Poltava, Ternopil, and Kharkiv, and the Safe City system was also launched in Mariupol. By the way, according to 2021 data, Kyiv is ranked 82nd in the global Smart City Index.

In most cases, Ukrainian cities use only certain tools of this concept. However, Ukraine has made significant progress in overall digitalization and process automation. 

A good example of Ukrainian success is the Diia app, which has made perhaps the greatest progress. With the help of the service, a significant number of public services that used to require standing in lines have been moved online and are now available on every Ukrainian's smartphone. In addition, Diia allows the public to take an active part in the life of the state by voting for changes or signing petitions at their convenience. Read more about how Ukraine became the first digital state in the world here.

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Why hasn't the Smart City concept been fully implemented in Ukraine?

Although some of the services envisaged by the smart city concept are already in place in Ukraine, including digital public transport tickets, video surveillance systems on the streets and in the subway, electronic document management, online registration in hospitals and government agencies, etc. The general trend is not yet nationwide.

The first problem Ukrainian cities face on the way to Smart development is the lack of a strategic vision. That is, for the successful implementation of this concept, Smart solutions must be officially enshrined in the development strategies of each individual locality. This is the path taken by most megacities in developed countries.

The second problem is the lack of funding, as the implementation of this concept depends not only on the government but also on business investments. That is, Smart cities technically cannot be built using budget funds alone. And today, businesses, investors and patrons of the arts are not actively involved in the development and implementation of the Smart concept. 

However, the situation may change after Ukraine's successful counteroffensive, as foreign partners have already expressed a desire to join the rebuilding of Ukrainian cities. We have told you more about which countries are helping to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by the russians here.

Ukraine's third problem is the lack of qualified and experienced personnel capable of launching and supporting innovative solutions. And we are talking not only about the actual workers who can implement the global Smart experience in Ukraine, but also about a single government agency that would regulate these issues. Today, ministries, representatives of municipal authorities, non-governmental organizations, and individual experts are working on creating smart cities. And, unfortunately, there is no single system that would regulate the directions, pace, and tools of development.

In today's realities, having a Smart concept is a strategic necessity. And no matter how unfortunate it may sound, the war can provide a good basis for the development of a system of smart cities in Ukraine. That is, the country has the opportunity not only to rebuild completely destroyed cities, but also to build them in a new way, taking into account current trends and global experience. In addition, in the future, this concept will not only make Ukraine more innovative, competitive and attractive to Ukrainians and foreigners, but will also attract a much larger number of investors to the country's development.

We remind you! The Ukrainian environment is facing a significant challenge: the growth of waste generation has become the largest in the history of independence, and the damage caused by land pollution has reached almost a trillion hryvnias. Read about how the Ukrainian government plans to tackle this problem in our previous article.

Photo: Pixabay

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