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This week, Business Insider republished an earlier story by architecture outlet ArchDaily, which provides interesting examples of smart cities from across the world including Masdar City, Abu Dhabi; Songdo, South Korea; Rio de Janiero, Brazil; and San Francisco, California. Each of these cities represents a different geographic region and cultural identity, yet all are prioritizing the implementation of technology and sustainability efforts. Masdar City, a city designed by a British architectural firm and completely reliant upon renewable energy, has banned cars within the city. Instead, transportation is provided by electrical podcars that travel to the destination selected by the user. In Songdo, algorithms are used to provide efficiency in energy use and citizens are given easy access to technology such as video conferencing. In the U.S., San Francisco has designed their parking spaces to use sensors that detect if a spot is currently being used. The information is available to drivers who can strategically locate parking spots quickly and efficiently.
The piece suggests architects should be actively involved in smart city development as they have the ability to act as an intermediary between technology and the general public. Overall, the development of smart cities includes many key players, including government and local officials, architects and designers, and consumers who are willing to adopt new routines and methods.
Of course, one of the things that make smart cities possible is smart buildings. The Baltimore Brew—a local news journal for Baltimore, Maryland—featured a great example of this: The John and Frances Angelos Law Center at the University of Baltimore School of Law. The building has a unique façade with glass and metal panels and three sides featuring a double façade to promote and improve interior climate control. The goals of the interior were to provide light and transparency, accessibility, openness, and green architecture to benefit the environment.
Both stories show that, along with great design, technology has a major role to play in helping architects design the buildings and the cities of the future.