Why are smart cities the future?
The future of urban design as a whole is virtually unknown. There are however a number of cities that are making the process of urban design motion towards the future. A number of smart cities across the world are working to make a future much brighter for their citizens as well as deal with ongoing issues of overpopulation.
As we begin to build up our urban centers and create more and more population issues smart cities will need to adapt through the use of technology to reduce the burdens on urban infrastructure, public transportation, housing and more. Smart cities of the future because they have to be the future and as more and more people choose to live in an urban environment cities will be expanding to the point where we will need to have complex technology guiding us in order to continue living safely and enjoying the same standard of life that we do in cities. Here are some examples of some of the top smart cities in the world and how they are using technology to create a more sustainable architecture for their urban sprawl.
- Songdo South Korea: South Korea is expanding rapidly and Songdo is its first official Smart city. While many other cities around the world are simply adapted with technology on an older infrastructure, Songdo is one of the very first cities to be built from the ground up with technology rather than simply retrofitted with tech. Songdo is a busy urban area because it’s located just 15 min. from South Korea’s largest airport. Although it isn’t a massive city over 100,000 people need to move through Songdo every day whether they lived there or worked there. This also conflicts with all of the ongoing airport traffic for South Korea’s busiest airport. The urban planners behind Songdo essentially built on top of a marshy area utilizing maximum space while allocating around 40% of the city for green space. All of the technology from the city’s infrastructure was built to deal with an ongoing population rise. City houses are built with pneumatic waste disposal, renewable technology and Leed certified building materials. There are 15 miles of bike lanes to reduce traffic congestion and pollution and there are sensors that monitor water flow through the entire city as well as radio identification tags on cars to prevent gridlock and traffic issues. Throughout the international business section of Songdo almost every building is digitally networked through public transportation schedules, video services to link residents, control and temperature services as well as energy generation and waste disposal. Although it sounds like there could be catastrophic failures of all of these linked services were to fail, the Smart city design comes with many different backups to prevent disruptions.
- New York City: New York has always been known as one of the most technological and progressive cities in the entire world. Today is no different. New York has to deal with urban copulation issues almost every day and as a result most of the new skyscrapers, housing developments and urban developments for New York City need to have a green design. Although in the past New York has been regularly thought of as a big waste producer it’s actually one of the premier areas for green design and environmental city structuring. A newly planned development for New York is called the low line which is a subterranean park built in a subway station. Using a series of glass shields designers will bring the sunshine in to build a park for plants, trees and more. No artificial air will need to be pumped into this area and it will have a very low footprint maximizing underground space that would otherwise be wasted. For water management, New York also has a new development plan called plus pool which will be built in the East River. The plus pool uses a self filtering floating design which can filter out sewage and wastewater from the river and make the area safe to swim in. It’s projects like these that are creating urban innovations throughout New York and maximizing space that would normally be wasted or taken up by urban development.
- Masdar City: Masdar city is located near Abu Dhabi and the goal of this new city design is to create yet another Smart city from the ground up. Masdar seeks to be one of the most economically friendly cities in the entire world but it isn’t scheduled for completion until 2025. This city will soon be a hub for entrepreneurs in ecology, residents that want to reduce their carbon for print as well as people that are simply interested in living or experiencing a Smart city. Masdar has banned non-electric vehicles from its two-mile core and all of the energy for the city will be coming from solar farms. With a big emphasis on efficiency and links systems throughout the entire city Masdar has a projection to use only 20% of the energy that the average city of 50,000 would. It’s this commitment to renewable energy that will continue to push smart cities towards the future. Masdar could in fact be a pioneer from which we can gather a wealth of information on Smart city design.
Overall, smart cities are the future because we need them to be the future. With many pioneers now utilizing urban spaces like never before, linking systems like never before and placing an emphasis on the environment like never before, the idea of urban development is changing. To deal with issues of overpopulation and to keep our earth as healthy as possible we need to reduce consumption. Smart cities or the future that will allow us to continue our quality of life by making subtle changes and using technology to create a safer and less wasteful urban environment.