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Sustainable Communities

How can technology create fairer communities?

Imagine a future where technology could help create a more equal world. Imagine a school where you could learn alongside children from every country you can think of.  

Well that’s what World School is all about.

In this episode of Techno Mum’s World School, Sam and Techno Mum are finding out about how technology is helping to develop fairer, more sustainable communities.

What do we need in our towns and cities?

Think about all the things that make up the places where we live. We need safe houses to live in, with enough heat and water to be comfortable, shops to buy food, schools and places where we can relax, not to mention healthcare when we need it.

We also need roads and public transport like buses to help us get around.

cars passing through north and south

All these things are needed but they can make our towns and cities very noisy and dirty. Imagine if you could have all the above but in a clean and green environment – well technology could help with that.

How can technology improve the places we live?

Something that we can introduce to make our towns and cities more sustainable are cycle paths. This can encourage people to get into the fresh air and exercise safely, instead of driving to work or school – and creating congestion.  

We can also create buses and trams that run on hydrogen or electricity, which means fewer emissions in the city. If the electricity is made from renewable sources this is even better.

blue and red bus on road during daytime

The internet is at the heart of sustainable and greener communities. Did you know that a town’s economy can grow in proportion to how available the internet is. Smart communities can use apps to pay bills, report problems like a hole in the road, make doctors appointments or get help in an emergency. This is also useful for people who are less mobile such as the elderly.

Data can also help farmers in really practical ways – such as getting up to the minute information about weather conditions, knowing about new varieties of seeds and using mapping apps to improve how they sow and harvest their crops. You can see how a farmer, who can access that information, would have an advantage over a farmer who can’t 

Data can help us find out exactly when the next bus will arrive! Plus more and more we are able to use apps to pay which means no cash.

Lighting the places we live more sustainably

six black birds perching on street lamp

Making all our street lights use LED bulbs helps use less energy than traditional lightbulbs.

Plus by having sensors on lights we can make sure they’re only on when people and vehicles are about. Which means less light pollution at night, which is also good for wildlife and the environment.  

Sustainable Materials to build the places we live

In the past a lot of the things in our towns have been made from concrete and tarmac. This isn’t a very sustainable material. Concrete absorbs a lot of sunlight and makes things a bit hot – in fact it gets so hot that it’s possible to cook an egg on it and during a heatwave in India people’s shoes stick to the tarmac. But using new materials, instead of concrete and tarmac, can help keep things cool when it’s hot.

asphalt road between trees during daytime

We can also put solar panels on buildings to generate some of energy they need to stay warm. There’s technology being developed in Sweden which can take the sunlight and direct it into dark rooms – saving on light bulbs! We can make things into solar power cells and use something called photovoltaic technology to generate green zero-carbon energy – and every little helps!

We can also incorporate nature into our buildings for example by having plants growing down some of the walls. This helps capture carbon, a greenhouse gas as well as making our cities more beautiful places to relax.

It’s not just in places like the UK which are benefiting. Technology is really making a difference to communities around the world, helping smaller and developing countries level up, and create a fairer greener world.  

Created with the support from The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

For more information visit The IET.

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Techno Mum

Ever wondered how things work? Ask Techno Mum!

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