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5 smart city projects from around the world

Cities are undergoing a smart transformation, using data and technology to make real impact on the lives of citizens.

A CityTree moss wall installation in Amsterdam. Image: Green City Solutions/Facebook
Image: Green City Solutions/Facebook

Published on February 12, 2018

Over the last two decades, cities around the world have been making the move to become smarter with their technology and data.

Here’s just a small snapshot of the projects that have come to life in our urban spaces:

CityTree (Oslo, Norway)

Berlin-based Green City Solutions' mobile moss installation helps cities add greenery to their urban spaces and curb pollution. One of these installations provides the same environmental benefit as 275 trees, without having to wait for the trees to grow. Wi-Fi sensors measure the quality of air around the moss walls.


E-Estonia (Estonia)

Estonia’s smart identification cards provide instant access to government services for all residents, from tax services to drug prescriptions. In 2005, Estonia became the first country to allow Internet voting by using the e-Estonia cards.

LinkNYC (New York City)

New York began installing LinkNYC digital kiosks in place of outdated payphones back in 2016. These Wi-Fi kiosks display important information to pedestrians — like if the subway is delayed, for example — are equipped with USB charging ports and users can even use them to make calls

Telensa’s Smart Parking (Moscow)

Telensa’s Smart Parking system decreases traffic congestion and environmental damage by allowing drivers to book parking spots. Moscow and Shenzhen currently have the largest deployments of the service, but other smaller cities have begun integrating Telensa’s technology into their urban centres.

Smart street lights (Kitchener, Ontario)

Canada’s no stranger to the smart city movement.

Energy savings of Kitchener’s 16,000 energy-efficient LED street lights, which are anticipated to last up to 20 years, will pay for the project within seven years. But they’re not just energy-efficient, but also smart. A network of small sensors in the streetlights have the ability to be used for anything from tracking parking spaces to alerting city staff when city garbage bins are full.

Learn more about Kitchener’s LED lights in Evergreen’s new discussion paper on technology and data in mid-sized cities, written in partnership with Code for Canada.