The development or regeneration of cities to provide an underlying smartness, liveability or intelligence is extremely broad in terms of the subject areas that need to be given consideration and that contribute to the full spectrum of urban living. However, it is equally acknowledged that deployment and use of technology will lie at the core of improving the deliverability of more sustainable cities – cities and their populations that touch the earth more lightly.
We know that it is possible to deliver highly efficient buildings (although we cannot yet ensure that they are used effectively by owners or occupiers). Buro Happold continues to develop ideas and designs to improve buildings and their environments and our work in that space continues to add value to our clients' asset base and achieve acclaim.
Sophisticated smart grids with some value have been developed (intelligent traffic signalling systems, power networks that enable white goods to switch on during time periods of lowest costs, fire and emergency response systems, etc). And there has been a lot of publicity devoted to the prospect of this approach being deployed on a larger scale, either through planners and designers of cities like Masdar, Dontang, Songdo, Lavassa, Tun Razak Exchange etc or the large hi-tech corporations like IBM, Cisco, Siemens, GE, etc. It points to a real effort and focus being assigned to deliver on the promise of technology to improve city living and, in doing so, help to ameliorate the impact that our societies are making on the planet.
Progress has been limited in the deployment of a true Smart City that offers greater collaboration and open integration between systems and data sets but, interestingly, there are emerging players in the market, such as Living PlanIt and their Urban Operating System (UOS™), advocating this potential game-changing approach, which we endorse.
Buro Happold is currently providing consultancy and engineering strategy and design input to smart urban development and regeneration projects on a worldwide basis. To support our approach we are undertaking cutting edge research, either independently or linked to top tier universities, to ensure that the need for design against current policy and delivery of viable solutions is underpinned by forward thinking that is able to anticipate and respond future change.