Global spending on smart city technology is expected to reach $130 billion in 2020. Many large cities are implementing digital solutions to improve their social, financial, and environmental well-being. We are living in a technology-driven age where new solutions have a significant impact on various industries.
Cities as a whole are beginning to change through this tech influence. This is a big deal for everyone, especially for architects who will have to adjust to meet future requirements.
Smart cities are defined in many ways. However, the consensus is that smart cities rely on technologies like actuators and IoT solutions to connect various parts of the city. The whole city is connected, from the streets to the air in it.
This opens up the opportunity for gathering valuable data from all connected layers of the city. This data can be analyzed and used to improve various aspects of the city for better urban life. It also enhances communication between the city government and its citizens.
On the other hand, a smart city is also about efficiently utilizing technologies, infrastructure, and operations. It’s about providing contextual services to both individuals and groups of people by addressing their exact needs.
Every smart city has a lot of stakeholders involved in its development. Without them, there wouldn’t be a smart aspect of the city. This is why architects need to showcase trust throughout the whole ecosystem. All of the technology needs to be secured to avoid disasters.
Since information is collected during each moment, it too needs to be protected and used only when the owner complies with it. At the same time, you need to align all of the technologies, legislations, and policies to ensure transparency, privacy, and proper protection.
All of the technology infrastructures need to be safe, reliable, and resilient.
Every smart city includes smart point solutions, departmental technology, and legacy systems in its infrastructure. It’s vital for cities to improve digital infrastructure as well as expand their technology integration capabilities to cover a broader ecosystem.
Technology and cybersecurity processes, systems, and policies need to be revised to ensure that they are focused on the city. This means that all of the new and old buildings need to be designed to support these technologies and allow smooth operation.
Architects will no longer be able to design buildings without considering these factors. In a technology-driven city where everything breathers “smart,” all of the new designs need to be integrated flawlessly within the ecosystem.
We are already witnessing a new wave of architects that only do their work on computers. Only 20 years ago, this was a taboo. People thought that computers couldn’t help architects do their jobs better. However, with technology development and new software solutions, architects can easily handle more complex tasks.
With smart cities, architects will also need to learn new things if they want to remain relevant. They will have to learn about IoT and smart technologies and apply this knowledge in their everyday work. All of the architecture designs will have to incorporate these technologies, or they will be useless.
An architect that doesn’t understand these things won’t be able to find jobs easily. Nobody wants to hire two different people to do a single task, right?
Smart cities aren’t thoroughly defined or regulated. There isn’t a final definition everyone agrees upon yet. However, everyone agrees that future smart cities will need standardization in terms of regulations, compliance, technology, and architecture practices.
Similarly to the standardization in architecture today, it only needs to be expanded and adjusted. This means that architects will have to learn these new standards and practices set to ensure that smart cities will develop in the right direction and improve the lives of citizens.
All people working in city governments need to know what to expect when they switch cities or jobs. On the other hand, standardization is essential so that people in the city can use the technology infrastructure.
Even though smart cities are technology-driven and use it to their advantage, their focus shouldn’t be on technology. Architects need to focus on using all of the technology available along with other layers of the system to deliver solutions that will benefit visitors, government officials, private businesses, and residents.
The primary outcomes should be aligned with the city’s needs, including things like:
● Public health
● Public safety
● Quality of life
● Economic development
It can be challenging for architects to separate what’s essential and what’s not. It’s not about using technology for the sake of technology but finding the right solutions, recognizing them, and implementing them at the right places where they will offer the most benefits.
The potential for the smart city industry is simply astonishing. The whole market will be worth around $400 billion in 2020, as there are over 600 smart cities in the world right now. These giants will contribute approximately 60% of the total global GDP in the next five years.
There is a need for the urbanization of all cities as the growth of the population keeps presenting new challenges. This trend is similar to the rapid urbanization that happened during the industrial revolution.
However, today, we have thousands of people pouring into cities with smartphones and other IoT gadgets. It’s essential to allow them to use all of these technologies appropriately. At the same time, these technologies are the solutions to providing all other urban requirements for those people to have adequate conditions in cities.
Architects will definitely be affected by smart cities. They already are. There is a new wave of professionals calling themselves “architects” who are IoT professionals that work in the smart city sector.
They are calling themselves architects even though they don’t have any typical traits of one. However, the new needs for technology architecture have made them competitive in the job market. Though these people don’t have any fundamental architecture knowledge, they can make up for it with other skills.
Architects need to acquire these skills as well because offering both the design and technology expertise will be a must in the future. At the same time, they will affect all the people living in those cities, as well as companies, and government institutions.
Smart cities might seem like a distant future, but they are already happening. People want to have instant access to everything and streamline their lives. This is what smart cities are all about. Architects need to adopt this mindset as well and try to deliver sustainable solutions that are accessible to everyone.