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In our daily lives, we use technology for almost everything. Waking up, checking the weather, sending last minute emails, and even ordering food. As a result, technology has enhanced our lives and, in many ways, optimized our day-to-day experience. So doesn’t it make sense to apply technology to the way we live in our communities? Urban development specialists certainly think so.

Applying the Internet of Things to every issue from public parking to water usage is a growing focus in areas around the world, where a phenomenon known as “smart cities” is on the rise. The idea is to use data and the resources available to us through technology to curb waste and make our habitats more environmentally friendly. Programs dedicated to such efforts have already been implemented throughout Europe in places like Barcelona, Stockholm and Southampton. In the U.S, the White House is doubling down on efforts to bring this into fruition.

Last year the White House designated $160 million toward technology that would be used to develop smart city projects. This year it has added another $80 million and shared plans to expand the MetroLab Network, which is a partnership established  between local governments, research organizations and universities to solve challenges related to the adoption and implementation of new technology in urban areas.

Some of the areas the White House hopes to enhance are those directly dealing with climate change and transportation in cities like Pittsburgh, Miami, LA and San Francisco. However, small and medium-sized cities won’t be without resources, entirely. The State University of New York and University of Albany are in the process of creating guidebooks of smart city processes, specifically for smaller cities, which need just as much help developing sustainable technology as others.

I believe these investments are highly important, and one of many necessary steps toward ensuring a better future for our children and for the world in general. The importance of these initiatives can not be understated given the latest research which shows that carbon emissions released by humans will cause the earth to release its own because of build up over time. Though we’re making attempts to heal the planet, very much damage has already been done. Hence efforts to make our daily tasks more efficient and less harmful to the planet is worth serious consideration and as much as much support as possible.