Limerick was selected in 2016 as a national case study for smart cities. But what is a smart city, and how is Limerick working towards becoming one?
With great focus on tech, flexible and remote work in a global economy, Limerick is looking to lead the charge in Ireland to become a smart city. The city has already grown to become one of the data capitals of Ireland, and with international technology companies expanding into and setting up here, Limerick was chosen as the subject of a €500,000 case study by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).
So what are the features of a smart city, beyond technology industry presence? It’s all about creating an environment that allows for smarter working and living, with better transport, a cleaner environment, better ways of working, and communities better catered for across all infrastructures and facilities. The hope from the study is to build Limerick’s international reputation as a forward thinking digital ecosystem, and to develop enterprise architecture for further economic growth.
It’s a problem that faces urban areas worldwide – increasing job creation colliding with mounting pressure on public transport systems and available accommodation. While presence is a must in some professions, there is a belief that many industries have a hangover of presenteeism from our predominantly 9 to 5 working culture. This is something that is now changing as a result of smart technology and focus on workplace wellbeing, agility and productivity, allowing people a way to be productive in economy while being more present with family and outside community projects, creating a better society for us all. We’ve already seen the success of the innovative workspaces, home to Teckro, as well as the Bank of Ireland Workbench open facility, as well as numerous startups, creative studios who have been hotdesking and remote working their way to success in the meantime. Expect to see this evolution of the way people work in Limerick continue.
A smart city is not just about ways of working, but also way technology is used to manage systems across city for better facilities, cleaner environment, and reducing our use of energy. It can include such things as plans to pedestrianise O’Connell Street and improve public transport. Another aspect is the Internet of Things, with more access to real time information on travel and other happenings within the city to enhance the experience of residents and tourists alike.
The possibilities in a smart city are endless. Beyond economic growth and improvement of facilities, there are also opportunities for arts, culture, and elements that add an element of fun and bring out the character of Limerick. The definition of a smart city is incredibly broad and one that Limerick can truly makes its own.
Article by: Kayleigh Ziolo
Photography: Tarmo Tulit
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