Curaçao’s Minister of Economic Development, Dr. Steven Martina, has recently emphasized the relevance of smart city concepts. And he is spot on. But what does being a smart city mean and why is the concept important to the island’s economic development? We asked MSc student Rocherno de Jong to share his vision on the topic.

 “There are many working definitions for smart cities, but there is no precise one,” he admits. One that he personally believes to be the ideal summary is by Jean Hartley, Professor of Public Leadership at The Open University (UK). A smart city is a city “connecting the physical infrastructure, the IT infrastructure, the social infrastructure, and the business infrastructure to leverage the collective intelligence of the city.”  Infrastructure and technology are central to a smart city. Combining and integrating the different systems and infrastructures in such a way that they all interact with each other is fundamental.

So what does a smart city look like? That truly depends on the individual interpretation, but think of smart parking – simplifying parking by sensors in parking lots to manage available parking space. Smart garbage cans – garbage cans that send signals to the garbage collection service, when cans are full. Smart street light systems – motion sensors to detect surrounding movements to turn a street light on or off. Smart agriculture can be a beneficial part of a smart city, as well. “By implementing a smart agriculture, we would find better ways to grow our own crops, vegetables or fruits, and reduce the dependency on import. Potentially, this could also enable export of our own products.” To the Technical Faculty of the University of Curaçao (UoC) the idea of smart agriculture is no news. 

According to the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Ergün Erkoçu, university students have already drafted plans and examples on how smart agriculture can be implemented in Curaçao, e.g. in combination with tourism.

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