IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR MASTERCARD - People enjoying coffee from Mastercard's booth coffee cart at Smart City Expo World Congress on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. (Manu Fernandez/AP Images for Mastercard)

CAPE TOWN - Smart cities are designed to combat the problems of climate change, urban overcrowding, and large populations which are causing strain on many cities infrastructure.

Recently, Philanthropist and well-known billionaire Bill Gates is set to also be involved in constructing a smart city, currently known as Belmont. 

His real estate investment group, Belmont Partners, spent $80 million for 25,000 acres of land to construct a city with technology built into its foundations.

Belmont Partners, the Arizona-based real investment group that's leading the project, said it will be similar in size to nearby Tempe, Arizona, which has a population of 182,000.

"Envisioning future infrastructure from scratch is far easier and more cost-efficient than retrofitting an existing urban fabric," Grady Gammage, a spokesman for the venture said in the statement.

WATCH: Smart cities of the future - 

In a report from Juniper research, it looked at many cities from around the globe and evaluated them across 40 metrics to determine that these are the five smartest ‘Smart Cities’ in the world. 

Here is a list of the top 5 smart cities:

1. Singapore 


Currently, Singapore is leading the world with its integration of smart technology. When classified as the number 1 spot, this city has man smart city initiatives such parking monitors, efficient lighting, and waste disposal.

The city also has innovative new systems such as sensors deployed voluntarily in elderly care facilities that will alert families if their relatives stop moving for too long. 

2. Barcelona


Barcelona has employed many smart solutions to keep its population moving swiftly such as smart parking and traffic systems to monitor congestion. In 2000, all large buildings were required to produce their own hot water which was enforced by the Barcelona Solar Thermal Ordinance.

So by 2006, it was required to make use of solar water heaters.

Many apps are used to assist citizens daily, such as:

1. The Transit app which uses live traffic cameras to help navigate along the clearest route.

2. Bustia Ciutadana acts as a customer service line for the city, which citizens can file complaints on things like potholes and broken lights.

The data is then sent to a central location to help the city in future.

3. London

(171112) -- LONDON, Nov. 12, 2017 (Xinhua) -- Participants take part in the Lord Mayor's Show in London, Britain, on Nov. 11, 2017. (Xinhua/Stephen Chung) (yk)

To help the citizens of London, many smart initiatives such as trialing electric bike sharing systems, and 300+ smart parking spaces to monitor parking are starting to have a positive effect.

The Juniper report on smart cities noted that London would have placed higher in the standings. However, due to significant failings regarding its renewable energy sources and poor power reductions it has been placed third. 

Global Smart City tech investment is estimated to reach $1,135 billion by 2019 according to a Market and Markets report. Currently, London has plans to be a part of this by investing in schemes that allow the River Thames to become a renewable energy source by using it to heat homes reducing the need for boilers.

This in turn will provide better air quality and reduced power bills for residents.

In an effort to increase in green energy projects, The city also intends to begin installing solar panels on houses.  

4. San Francisco

San Francisco is also leading the way in many clean energy initiatives, such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has praised the city, saying that it has one of the highest concentrations of LEED-certified buildings in the world. 

A recent law that the city upholds is that new buildings are required to have at least 15% of roof space dedicated to solar panels. California lawmaker, Senator Scott Wiener, has hopes that this policy will soon  become a statewide policy.

5. Oslo

Oslo is committed to progressive and cleaner living. 

The city currently uses 65,000 smart LED lights linked by 650 processing stations. This means that there is a reduce in energy use. The stations can also  monitor the area to determine how bright the lights  need to be, in foggy or lighter conditions. 

The smart traffic system introduced license plate detectors in a scheme to calculate accurate congestion charges.  The city is currently working on the construction of an additional 37 miles of cycling road with plans to ban cars in the city centre by 2019.

In terms of energy created, the city uses waste as one of it’s primary fuels as opposed to burying it in a landfill. It was reported In 2013,  that city used so much of this waste as fuel that they depleted their entire stockpile and authorities had to import refuse from abroad.

In the future, Oslo has plans to redraw it’s entire transport network by 2020 and is aiming to cut fuel emissions by 50%. 

 - BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE