The future of the green sector. Who becomes the leader of the Smart City: the civilian or the Big Four?

When I was in high school, it was certainly not cool to be a nerd. Nerds did not get any girls and certainly not the handsome. That image is completely tilted. In our ICT-driven society, nerds are the new stars. The magazine City + Green brought together five nerds from the green sector to talk with a number of administrators and customers about the future of the green subject.

In addition, as the magazine City + Green, we had the dream that, with the disposal of so much brainpower, we could in one effort create one coherent image of how we will manage public space in the future. It soon became very easy, but also difficult at the same time.

IT in green sector

Looking at the role of ICT in the sector, you do not have to be a prophet to predict that information technology in all forms will become increasingly important. There is a huge cloud of green data coming for the sector, enabling us to know everything, to predict everything and to better manage public space.

Predictive in green and landscaping

Whenever we weed a round – but it also applies to mowing or smoothness – you always make the whole round. That takes time and money. Based on historical and growth models and / or monitoring with sensors, you can accurately predict where weeds grow and where not. Then you can meet the image with less work. This way you can plan the most advantageous round.

The next step is to gather data that lets you predict where you likely need to do something at some point. This can be done with historical growth models, but also with all kinds of sensor technology. A sensor can already feel exactly whether a road box is sensitive to freezing. With drones it will soon be possible to fly a particular route and find out exactly where to breed, sweep or weed.

Dirk Tuip is director of FacilityApps. His company is developing Apps that allow administrators to better plan and organize their work. In addition, the problem in the green sector is not unique and, for example, also occurs in the cleaning industry. And let that just be the sector from which FacilityApps originates.
In the cleaning world, sensors are currently being used to record how many people stay in a particular space. Based on this, you can accurately predict which rooms are to be cleaned and which ones do not. In the public space, such a thing is also predictable. For that, the data is also widely available.

Joost Verhagen is from Cobra Tree Advisers. His company is one of the driving forces behind Boomregister.nl. That is a database in which all Dutch tree crowns are collected. This is, of course, only an example of what will be available in increasing extent in the future. Linking data from these types of databases allows you to create the most amazing thematic maps, combining things like green and health.

Democracy and the big five – the real Smart City

Will information technology ensure that our society becomes fairer and more democratic? On the one hand, yes. For now it is still the one who has the biggest mouth, will probably be the first and fastest to be helped. Information technology is potentially able to determine, without the interference of the municipality, what the inhabitant of a municipality considers important.

You do not need to organize more meetings where only a negligible amount of citizens is present; You control it via the smartphone. The latter immediately indicates the great danger of the developments. Knowledge and information are power. Even though the Big Four – Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple – are no longer controlled by our national parliament and our politicians. In the future, that will only get worse. On the one hand, ICT has the goal of making our society more open, fairer and more democratic; On the other hand, forces are released which are no longer controllable.

Burger participation in green management

What we did not expect from City + Green was that the nerds who participated in the master class, also realized that not only the technology changes but also the playing field in which that technique has to perform. The most important game changer is probably the citizen. With a few exceptions, the citizen is now mainly a consumer of public space, but in the future it could just be that the citizen, in addition to the consumer or user, becomes director, co-creator, executor, client and even financier. Dirk Tuip: ‘When citizens realize that their homes will be worth more because of a well-groomed green environment, they are going to commission themselves without the municipality being there as a traditional source of money.’

Trends and developments at gardeners and green managers

1. Sensing- en monitoring technology (sensors, cameras, satellite images, IoT)

Rapid development in sectors such as energy, logistics and agriculture and horticulture
not as fast in urban areas generating of data (big data, from various sources)

2. Robotics en autonomous vehicles

rapid development in sectors such as traffic and logistics
also in agriculture and horticulture (autonomous tractors, picking robots)
not as fast in urban areas (autonomous mowers on some golf courses)

3. High quality green in urban areas

healthy living environment, improving air quality, biodiversity, water storage, cooling

4. Trend: Saving and Monotony