Smart City Comes to Denver, Colorado
In this city, that sits on a previous Panasonic factory, street lamps turn on as you walk under them. Electric cars and bikes are available for all to use. Solar panels line the streets to power homes and fill power cells for nighttime. 400 acres of land southwest of DIA will host the Pena Station NEXT – the sustainable city collaboration. It sits right in the middle of downtown and the airport, and will host the Pena Boulevard light rail station, which opens April 22.
The city will feature renewable energy, sustainable construction, city-wide wireless internet, and a multitude of health centers, shops, restaurants, community centers, playgrounds, bike paths, etc. They’d like employees to live there, or at least very close, and they want to create a sustainable community where residents take pride in where they live. They want it to be a true “transit-oriented” development, where employees use the train to go in and out of the city.
The whole point of a Smart City is to bring technology to the masses. More technology means more awareness of how to live sustainably, and then everyone benefits. Carbon dioxide emissions rise depending on a city’s density. In super dense cities like New York, people use public transit more, which lowers a city’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, Denver is seriously lacking in the public transit department, so we’re dense and we have high greenhouse gases. One major problem with Denver’s public transit is that we’re already so built up that it’s difficult to squeeze in transit. We can’t do a subway, and we can’t put light rail everywhere…it’s really difficult. Pena Station NEXT is starting with transit and building from there. That way all of the infrastructure is in place before the first house is built. Other differences from Fujisawa include shuttles to borrow instead of cars, dimming street lights, and various placements of the solar panels.
Other cool things in the neighborhood include a new Panasonic building with solar panels and an Xcel Energy smart grid to store the battery back up power. A whole list of other totally amazing technologies can be found in the Denver Post article here.