Nearly 90% of Israel’s population lives in urban areas: in central cities, suburbs and peripheral cities. Despite the great interest in national politics, the factors that most influence the quality of life of the residents in Israel are actually the local authorities. The local authority provides residents with services in the areas of education, leisure, waste management and recycling, traffic, transportation and mobility, employment, the environment, security and infrastructure. The correct management by the authority will have a positive effect on the lifestyle of residents and their measure of happiness, and will lead to direct economic savings for them. It is important to note that the concept of a smart city refers to a wide range of issues, and by rating each of them, IDC in Herzliya has created a uniform and objective index that takes into account several areas of activity that define a smart city:
● Safe city – management of safety systems; infrastructure that emphasizes road safety; efficient municipal and police service; civil protection systems.
● Digital city – digital services which reduce bureaucracy for residents. Option to choose between different digital means. Accessibility of services.
● Sustainable city – environmental sustainability; recycling; waste disposal by advanced means.
● Efficient city – energy efficiency and savings to local authority expenses; efficiency in employee management and placement of technological service alternatives.
● Learning city – ensuring professional currency; network of modern systems and tools; appointment of key people in the local authority to teach and familiarise staff about smart city technologies.
The city of Ashdod is a southern coastal city, the sixth largest city in Israel with a population of close to 230,000 residents.
In the Smart Cities Index set by the IDC, the city of Ashdod stands out in its urban strategy for smart and sustainable cities, smart and information-based urban management, construction, sustainability and smart infrastructure, and indices of innovation, education and local economy.
Among the prominent projects in the city of Ashdod that make it one of the smartest cities in Israel are the following:
Smart Transportation Center – Ashdod boasts the most advanced smart transportation center in Israel, REWAY, which implements advanced technologies in the field of smart and autonomous transportation. Transportation planning in the city is based on the city’s hubs such as the port, the coastal strip and logistical resources, as well as the development of smart roads for real-time traffic management, which enables solutions that encourage the use of shared and public transportation.
Technological hothouse – In collaboration with the Strauss Group, the Ashdod Municipality has established a leading technological development hothouse, the purpose of which is to invest in groundbreaking technological ventures in the food industry. This venture aims to improve the production of quality and healthy food, and generates investments and professional guidance in various projects, creates awareness and attraction for scientific education for the city’s young people, and creates employment and jobs.
Mafte’ach Center – The city of Ashdod has implemented a center for employment development for the ultra-Orthodox, one of the largest demographics of the city, which integrates men and women from the sector into the labor force, tailoring the jobs to their specific needs and according to their skills. The project is being carried out in collaboration with IBM.
HUB Complex – a complex located in the urban youth center, providing a collaborative work environment, a regional business center, the business accelerator program of the Agency for Small and Medium Businesses in the Ministry of Economy, support and business consulting.
Digital services for residents – Ashdod Municipality prides itself on streamlining services for residents through a variety of digital means: the “Ashdodit” app that provides residents with access to information and performance; an extensive website emphasizing optimal user experience which offers many services including enrollment in educational institutions and leisure activities, online payments, forms for downloading, inquiries and so on.
Mashkal, invites the employees of local authorities in Israel to the innovative and exciting MiC – the innovation center, where they can discover a variety of systems and technologies through visual and experiential means, and learn about the principles of smart cities in Israel including improving services to residents, energy efficiency, creating a greener city, water systems and many more.