How cities are getting smarter


Smart and sustainable city urban planning affects everyone. Fifty-five percent of the world’s population already lives in urban areas, and 2.5 billion more people will be living in cities by 2050. As a result, it’s important to understand what innovations are involved in building smart cities. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a “smart city?”

A “smart city” is one that undertakes urban planning for the purpose of increasing connectivity. Using data collected by state-of-the-art technology, smart cities improve government operations, city services, infrastructure, quality of life, and the environment.

How cities are getting smarter

The future isn’t just about self-driving cars and talking AI. It’s also about local governments and citizens using technology to make urban centers more efficient, optimizing the shared infrastructure, resources, and operations in these following ways.

First, almost everything you make contact with on a daily basis has a layer of sensors. These sensors collect real-time data and become interconnected in a network called the Internet of Things. IoT then allows these devices — from smart home appliances to wearable technology — to communicate and optimize their systems to better urban living. A smart city, therefore, can affect citizens’ welfare, traffic lights, and economic growth with the appropriate data.

Open data is also important for innovation. In other words, the public must be aware of what data is being collected as well as what projects and government initiatives are being undertaken within their areas for transparency and civic engagement. Many smart cities around the world have made a significant amount of valuable information public, such as restaurant health inspections and neighborhood crime statistics. This public, standardized data empower citizens and give external developers information to apply when building hard (transportation services, buildings) and soft infrastructure (bureaucracy, sustainability).

Lastly, service providers are working to develop 5G technologies and ways to power all future smart city networks. Communication channels have to have higher connectivity, including both broadband and mobile networks with high speeds and low latency, to support future innovations. Free public Wi-Fi is also another aspect of these urban projects. With this surplus of information, governments can power the next level of connectivity for both public and private sectors, city services, and society.

Where Common fits in

In 2018, Common was mentioned by PitchBook as an architect of smarter cities. By designing, managing and operating coliving spaces, we offer temporary and low-cost tenant options, “as well as provide community-centric environments that foster collaboration and connected living.”

Many of our homes and future projects have green features and promote sustainability. Common Melrose in LA has smart thermostats as well as a recirculating plumbing system to save water. Our first Manhattan home will incorporate low-flow plumbing and a custom solar canopy so as to reduce energy consumption.


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Waking up on the right side of the bed at Common Melrose. ☀️

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Common also aims to make smart living possible within a smart city. With our Community App, Common members are able to connect with other members, RSVP to events around the city, and claim exclusive discounts from national and local brands. Moving forward, we plan to make a chat feature and iOS version for download, making it easier for members to communicate and take advantage of all the perks that come with being a Common member.

Live in a smart city today

Common has homes across all major U.S. cities, most of which are transforming into smart urban areas. Find out more about our homes in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

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