Innovation helps cities master growth vertically

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Urbanization raises many new questions. It is changing the face of our world: By the end of this century, 70 percent of the world population will be city-dwellers. 
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Urbanization raises many new questions. It is changing the face of our world: By the end of this century, 70 percent of the world population will be city-dwellers. Shanghai’s population is expected to rise to about 50 million in 2050. So the megatrend of urbanization can not only be studied here in Shanghai, it must also be mastered.

Cities continue to grow horizontally, but they are also expanding vertically. So buildings are reaching ever-new heights. This opens up unknown and yet untapped possibilities for technology. And in a city of high-rises like Shanghai — with its nearly 220,000 elevators, making it the global number one — elevators are a crucial element of the technological innovation that is required, and the quality of life that is desired.

Let’s have a look at some numbers: In 2010 alone, office workers in New York City spent a cumulative 16.6 years waiting for elevators. Almost 17 years — a huge amount of time that could have been put to better use. The 12 million elevators in operation worldwide are rendered unavailable for a total of 190 million hours every year. So in terms of availability and efficiency, there is a real need for new technological solutions.

Innovative lifts

thyssenkrupp has developed such innovations. Not only is speed needed, so is flexibility where multiple cars can be allowed in reduced space. Our rope-free elevator MULTI isn’t constrained by the height of a building and thus makes valuable space available for the actual purpose of the building. And our system ACCEL facilitates public transport and helps prevent traffic congestion by improving access to Metro stations.

Big data holds one of the keys to progress. It is the collection of data that enables precise diagnosis which in turn renders predictive maintenance possible for technicians. And this is precisely what thyssenkrupp’s MAX does. It is the elevator industry’s first real-time, cloud-based predictive maintenance solution. And it presents thyssenkrupp as one of the frontrunners in making elevators smarter, safer and meeting the challenges of urbanization.

Sustainable urbanization is an important key to successful development. As I mentioned, technology is crucial for making an economy more sustainable. This always requires a regulatory and political framework.

Recommendations

Set standards as an approach to set incentives for innovative and sustainable solutions.

Conduct targeted public subsidies that support the investment in efficient technologies.

Focus on efficiency in public tenders, with clear selection criteria reflecting Shanghai’s economic, environmental and social policy goals.

Promote an active innovation policy.

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