The Urban Demand-Response Challenge

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By Dominique Bonte | 1Q 2019 | IN-5385


Urbanization and Densification


When everything is said and done, the smart cities conundrum boils down to addressing the challenge of reliably and continuously supplying services and resources to very high concentrations of citizens and enterprises amid huge and often unpredictable spatial and temporal variations in demand for mobility, energy, accommodation, education, healthcare, security, and transportation.

This combination of urban densification and huge swings between low and peak demand represents a double demand-response challenge for cities:

  • How to build infrastructure capable of addressing very localized and sudden peak demands while maintaining affordability of services—cost of living is a key enabler of economic development and social inclusion
  • How to do this in a sustainable way without compromising the environment

While demand-response is most often seen in the context of smart girds, the term is used more generally here, referring to any system delivering output matching demand.

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