The term “Smart Cities” was first coined in the 90s, due to the rapid urbanization in the United States, and of the overall world’s population. With the rise of industrialization and technology, there has been a rapid transition from rural to urban: “with over 50 percent of the population now living in cities. By 2050, it is predicted that nearly 70 percent of the world’s population, which equates to more than six billion people, will live in urban areas.” (Smart Cities and Sustainability Initiative, American Planning Association)
The concept of Smart Cities continues to impact the AEC industry due to the demand for more dwellings in urban and metro areas. Metro areas seem to be experiencing a renaissance, primarily due to the fact that young professionals are looking for work and starting families later and Baby Boomers are retiring in cities downsizing their living accommodations. With this in mind, collaborative technologies are becoming crucial to the success of a Smart Cities strategy.
In a recent report from the American Planning Association, they shared some of the key trends that are impacting Smart Cities, and the recommendations to best plan for the future. Here’s a few that caught our attention:
Now that society has a better grasp on balancing our own human needs with the natural environment; sustainability is on everyone’s mind. This has increased the demand for green energy (i.e. wind, electric and solar) to replace fossil fuels, and the need to have greater efficiency in our work and build environments.
Building efficiently is crucial. Better planning and collaboration will increase planning a sustainable design and decrease the time it takes to finish a project, which effectively lowers the environmental impact of construction.
In today’s modern age, a progressively interconnected world (through cloud-based computing, social media, smart phones, internet, etc.) has allowed for many industries work to be done anywhere, anytime. This immediate access allows users to collaborate and share information in real-time.
Rapid improvements in technology has decreased the costs of communication and information dissemination. The Internet, Big Data and cloud-based computing options are more accessible than ever. As a result, technology is being connected all across the community, through our infrastructure networks, transportation, businesses and buildings.
With the advancements of BIM technology, Smart Cities can take shape more quickly to help fill the demand for urban settings.
Here are a few of the recommendations that were outlined in the report to help communities devise a Smart Cities action plan:
- Partner with universities, businesses and other groups to research reports on key technologies and educate.
- Develop a comprehensive plan around smart city guidelines for land use, transportation and economic development.
- Analyze human behavior and the best ways technology can benefit the society and cities.
- Invest in smart ideas, not just smart technology.
- Use collaborative technologies (like Assemble Systems) and find ways to spread these technologies to all parts of civilization.