A REFLECTION OF DIGITALIZATION
One of the most prominent American architects and engineers, Julia Morgan quoted that “Architecture is a visual art and the buildings speak for themselves.” From microscopic to the macroscopic scale, everything has been digitized, so why not cities? Like our smartphones are famous for multi-tasking, cities are also capable of being transformed into smart cities.
SO, WHAT IS A SMART CITY?
A Smart City is an urban area where an enormous amount of data is collected through Internet of Things (IoT) devices and then efficient algorithms are applied for the proper functioning of services and management of resources in the city. In simpler terms, a smart city incorporates Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into the basic designs for cost reduction, reusability of resources and addressing environmental concerns.
The next big question arises about the design and architecture of such a city. Let’s try to understand that.
VISION AND CHALLENGES
One of the primary goals of a smart city is to offer digital means for supporting social needs. To overcome this challenge, it will be necessary to analyze the data generated by the sensor network and apply optimization algorithms using artificial intelligence techniques or neural networks.
Cybersecurity has become a matter of significance over the last decade. Due to the increasing number of cases of data breaches, providing a reliable system to the citizens to deal with sensitive data will be necessary.
BIG DATA MANAGEMENT
Deployment of ICT devices in a city leads to the generation of chunks of data which needs to be properly handled. For example, GPS sensors installed on vehicles may give valuable information about transport flow but it will generate a huge amount of high-velocity data.
No design can be considered suitable if it is not economical and budget-friendly. For example, in the case of a smart traffic management system, each car has to be fitted with sensors and thousands of roadside units must be installed.
Scale, magnitude and availability are the three most important factors in the field of civil engineering. For example, energy requirements can be calculated via a smart grid and the government can plan to meet the energy requirements for upcoming years before it goes critical.
In modern times when even for laundry services, an app can be developed to meet the industry standards, we just can’t expect to propose a design without preferably using mobile applications and websites. Faster development of new and innovative applications will be required so that citizens can take maximum advantage of data collection.
Why exactly did this concept of smart cities come into existence? According to the United Nations, more than 54% of the world population lives in a city presently, the forecast for 2050 is to reach 66%. This increasing rate is posing a challenge for architects on the grounds of resources and services both.
HOW IoT CAN HELP TO REALISE THE PERFECT DESIGN?
One of the strengths of IoT is its direct application for measures of sustainability and energy
Lighting: It is possible to include presence detectors and reduce the luminosity of the lighting when there is no presence of pedestrians.
Transport: Pizo-electric generators allow optimizing urban transport fleets as well as generating electricity, reducing the consumption of fossil fuels.
Buildings: Data collected from all the energy-consuming appliances of a building (HVAC, water, light, access, fire, security, etc.) allows to optimize the load profiles against their demand, drastically reducing unnecessary consumption.
AROUND THE GLOBE
Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Dublin, Manchester, New York City, Stockholm, etc can be considered as examples of smart cities.
Street lamps in Amsterdam.
In this era of robots and drones, the disruption of IoT and new communication technologies will allow a drastic reduction of energy consumption globally and with it, our environmental impact and carbon footprint. It will be an effective step toward sustainability and resource optimization. We are on the brink of a new digital age where the sensorial will be an integral part of our lives.