The beginning of the current decade marked the acceleration of digital transformation and transition within industry, both in terms of thinking and priorities. This has come to be known as the shift from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0, driving a similar evolutionary step change in the city’s development.
Industry 4.0 primarily focused on smart production and was regarded as an industrial revolution of the digital age; production became more cost-effective, more efficient, and more autonomous.
Industry 5.0 switches the emphasis towards smart consumption. Collaboration between humans and robots has increased, alongside consumption becoming more human-centric, frictionless, and inclusive. There has also been a critical focus on eliminating restrictions. For example, by eradicating the cost of communication with VoIP apps, being able to access unlimited information via search engines, and the availability of infinite free data and storage with freemium cloud subscriptions.
City 4.0 was an environment on track to comply with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the aid of superior infrastructure, public transport, roads, parks, healthcare, and digital access. In the evolution process of the smart city, a term first introduced in the early 2000s, City 4.0 strove to achieve these SDGs primarily through hyperconnected technology to better achieve a more intelligent, interconnected, and efficient city.
Though City 4.0 is more than livable, the move garnered some criticism for emphasizing technology over its citizens. The shift to City 5.0, however, embodies a more human agenda. City 5.0 prioritizes people – creating a safe, attractive, socially cohesive urban environment that is both inclusive to all and environmentally sustainable.
The clear implication is that smart cities must be based on more than just information and communications technologies (ICT) and the availability of online services to achieve goals of improved social, economic, environmental, and cultural development.
City 5.0 – Eliminating or Reducing Restrictions
Cities are complex socio-material systems with a vast number of stakeholders. Here, the citizen becomes the customer, and cities are expected to provide a variety of essential services that contribute to creating a loveable environment. The focus shifts to providing services that are available to all, and without competition – so-called ‘public goods.’
Using digitalization to supply public goods, services, and experiences, City 5.0 can be defined as an environment that has been reconfigured to eliminate restrictions across six categories:
- Economic – charges for consuming city services restrict the possibilities for citizens who cannot afford them. Free transportation and free Wi-Fi are ways around these restrictions.
- Spatial – Competition for space creates a negative impact on quality of life. Long commuting is one example but can be mitigated by more distributed and freely available workspaces.
- Temporal – A city ‘switched on’ only at certain times brings temporal restrictions. The liberalization of opening hours for businesses and new, digital solutions are two possible solutions.
- Individual – Physical or cognitive impairments may heavily restrict individuals based in cities. Digital technologies can help to eliminate these restrictions by offering specialized interfaces and digital assistants for easier access to public goods and services.
- Discoverability – The amount of accessible information can be overwhelming. City 5.0 attempts to reduce this restriction through an intelligent supply of notifications and alerts for goods and services.
- Social – Removing socialization barriers encourages citizen interactions, co-creation, active participation, groups, and inter-group cohesion.
What is Ideal vs. What is Realistic
A city entirely without restrictions for its citizens is highly idealistic. However, the ambition behind these goals helps to drive innovation. City 5.0 is not a detailed blueprint but rather a re-alignment of priorities that guides the evolution of the urban environment beyond being a smart city. In many cases, digitalization will be employed to help overcome restrictions. For example, access for all to healthcare services could be enabled by telemedicine, negating the limitations of physical distance. Education is also becoming more digital, without the temporal and physical restrictions that have previously existed between schools, students, and parents.
Evolution, not Revolution
The paradigm shift to City 5.0 is not a rejection of the smart city principles of City 4.0, but an evolution of them. Crucially, it must be recognized that economic, social, and environmental challenges may potentially lead to severe restrictions for citizens which can result in poverty, inequality, and pollution – scourges that city-dwellers are particularly prone to.
City 5.0 places citizens at the center of urban operations and creates a world which works for them and with them, calling on technology solutions as well as economic, social, and environmental changes to bring about the goal of improved livability in cities.
The author, Xavier Mongin Global Director for Government, Defense, and Smart Cities, at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.