Technical standarts for smart cities are already a reality in Brazil

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Cities like Brasilia are entering the race to become certified with standarts developed by ABNT’s Special Study Commission

Standarts are essential elements for the cohesive organization of companies, services, institutions and -why not – cities. Important for defining concepts and establishing standardized, consistent and comparable criteria, standarts are our guarantee to create more livable, tolerant, efficient and safe spaces for all. Their certification, therefore, helps cities benchmark their progress and develop a roadmap for using data and evidence to deliver results for residents.

It is surprising to realize that until recently Brazil did not have any specific certifications for smart cities. The alarming scenario has been reversed with the creation of the Special Study Commission of Sustainable Cities and Communities (ABNT / EEC-268), a study group responsible for the elaboration of the first Brazilian technical standards specific to sustainable, resilient and smart cities. Created by the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT) and coordinated by Professor Alex Abiko, from the Department of Civil Engineering Engineering at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli), the initiative also counts with contributions of institutions such as the Housing Union (Secovi-SP), the Ministry of Regional Development (MDR), the Council of Architecture and Urbanism (CAU) and Bright Cities itself.

Experts are unanimous in pointing out the relevance of technical standards due to their transformative potential: not only they provide valuable information to demystify the concept of smart cities in the country, but they also encourage the adoption of innovative technologies capable of improving public management. Moreover, they offer great effectiveness for governance and services, they consolidate international goals and parameters for comparing and exchanging experiences between cities, they increase information transparency and also attract new investments due to the credibility and comprehensiveness of the established indicators.

“The standarts will help city managers, politicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, city planners, designers, civil engineers and other professionals to focus on key issues, guided by livable, tolerant, sustainable, resilient, economically attractive policies”, explains Iara Negreiros, PhD in Urban Engineering & Planning from Poli USP and Secretary of ABNT’s Special Study Commission of Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Although they are not mandatory, Brasília is leading the interest in standards in Brazil with plans to receive, next year, the certification ISO 37120 – “Sustainable cities and communities — Indicators for city services and quality of life”, focused on smart urban systems. Last November, the city hosted the first edition of the National Forum for Certification of Smart Cities, held by the Council of Economic, Sustainable and Strategic Development in DF (Codese-DF). With the presence of federal representatives, mayors, academics and national companies, the event discussed the urban strategies employed by the city to elaborate its master plan for smart cities. Among the policies adopted is the digital portal Brasília em Dados, developed by the Federal District Planning Company (Codeplan) to provide data and indicators for the study and implementation of technical standards.

If well succeeded , Brasilia will be the first Brazilian city to achieve the certification, joining international destinations such as Barcelona (Spain), Bogota (Colombia), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), London (United Kingdom) and Boston (United States). The initiative is expected to pave the way for other municipalities in the country to also embark on the initiative.

“We need to demystify the concept of smart cities and that is why Bright Cities is committed to participate in the discussions on how to implement these standards and assist its portuguese version, which has already received contributions from many experts across the country,” says Raquel Cardamone, Bright Cities CEO.

A reference in smart cities in Brazil, Bright Cities placed the country on the smart cities map by establishing partnerships with cities such as Aracaju (SE) and Juazeiro do Norte (CE), winner of the Smart City Day 2019 Award granted by SPin Soluções Públicas Inteligentes. In addition to teaching an extension course at the University of Campinas – Unicamp, the startup also attended events such as the Smart City Expo World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, ​​where it presented the pioneering diagnostic tool Leading Cities Rating powered by Bright Cities, created in partnership with the US organization Leading Cities.