Alhambra 2025: Life in the future city
Maria's alarm wakes her up at 6:40 a.m. in the year 2025. It’s a new day in the Spanish city of Alhambra, one of many communities around the world that are using advanced technology to manage resources, protect the environment, and improve the lives of their citizens.
In 2025, the world has changed and so have the cities that now house more than 60 percent of the global population. The needs and expectations of urbanites have adapted to ubiquitous digital technologies. Cities offer hundreds of digital services that make life simpler and easier for residents, visitors, and businesses.
Transportation, leisure, healthcare, exercise, and even taxation have changed in response to citizen inputs and opinions. Citizens are the real designers of the services they consume, and the ongoing interaction between users and services results in the services themselves continuously evolving and being perfected. The “Alhambra Here” portal—AH for short—is a personalized tool that most residents use to interact with the Future City Services Administration.
The “Alhambra Here” portal in practice
7:10 a.m.: After a quick shower and breakfast, Maria checks the Daily Commute app in the AH portal. As in many cities, residents often complained about traffic. The city government designed a dynamic system that matches real-time user transportation requests with available transit options.
The app integrates user requests together with other parameters such as weather, construction projects, and the number of trucks and buses in the streets. Autonomous vehicles are very common in Alhambra these days, but many residents still drive their own cars. The system provides information about parking, public transportation, shared rides, and even bicycles, if it makes sense. Maria is soon on her way to her dental clinic in the city center.
13:10: Maria has had a busy morning, with several scheduled appointments plus the addition of a couple of patients who popped in, taking advantage of Alhambra's “Take care of yourself” service. The city government is pushing a wellness campaign that notifies nearby residents who need dental care, or are simply due for a checkup, that the clinic has an open time slot for the service they need.
The city encourages healthy lifestyles by offering rewards, in the form of “civic points,” to residents who cycle to work or get off the bus a few stops ahead of their destinations. These points can be redeemed for tickets to concerts or sporting events. Citizens can even use them to reduce their local taxes.
17:00: Maria needs to renew the licenses of certain medical devices used in her clinic. Because these devices are smart, they have already gathered the information they need to comply with relevant regulations. Maria is the human interface that gives the tools the final permission they need to contact the city government, verify their status, and accept their new operating licenses. It only takes her a moment to provide all the necessary information and get the renewal.
Alhambra residents seldom need to visit a government office. All public information is conveniently centralized and integrated using biometrics and digital signatures to ensure privacy. Many citizens expressed concerns about security and privacy when these services were first developed. Over time, smart technology, prudent legislation, and resident feedback combined to mitigate these concerns.
The system contains features that help citizens remain as anonymous as they want to be. Other tools allow residents to monitor and report potential abuses. Questions or concerns submitted to the “Privacy Watchdog” service are answered within 24 hours.
19:00: The workday is done. It's time to have some fun! The “Enjoy Alhambra” section of AH tells Maria about activities and offers based on her preferences and circumstances. Tonight, Maria plans to have dinner and attend a concert with some friends from out of town. They toured the city while she was at work, using a mobile app that helped them navigate Alhambra as if they had lived there for years. The app offers pop-up audio and videos that identify landmarks and historical events that took place wherever they happen to be.
20:30: Maria and her friends arrive at the concert hall, which is packed. The "Dot Your I’s” is a very popular band, and the tickets sold out in just a few days. Maria is unperturbed by the many multipurpose cameras and sensors that operate in the city. She understands that they are necessary for the smooth operation of the city.
The cameras and sensors are the city's eyes and ears. They track accidents, litter, and criminal activity. The city government also uses them to optimize resources such as street lightning. The equipment operates 24/7. Intelligent analysis of the images and signals enables rapid responses to public safety threats and other issues that may arise.
During the concert, Maria has the opportunity to let others within her circle know where she is. When Maria goes out for coffee or a walk, she always opens her “Up for a chat” mode in AH. If a friend happens to be close by, the tool lets both parties know so they can meet up if they choose. This service is optional; at any time a resident may sign out and enjoy life the old-fashion way. Resident’s choices and privacy concerns are always the priority.
23:00: The concert is the perfect end to Maria's day. After making plans to meet up with her friends on Saturday morning, she uses the commute app to get back home. This time, the system suggests sharing a ride with a neighbor who was also at the concert and is going back home.
23:40: As she is getting in bed, Maria glances at her device and remembers her mother saying that she couldn’t understand how people lived before the Internet. Maria smiles and thinks to herself, “I wonder how we lived before AH."
This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.