By 2020 70% of the world’s population will be city dwellers. Existing cities will grow and many new ones will be built.
By the end of this decade the UK’s urban dwellers will account for more than 92% of the population. Worldwide around 125,000 people move to cities every day.
All cities must therefore innovate fast to deal with the major urban challenges of housing, healthcare, energy, education, transport, finances, security, economic development, and leisure. History has shown that balancing the needs and wants of cities and their citizens is complex and fraught with political and financial hazards. Steering cities in the right direction has challenged planners for millennia. Understanding the city is the first precept towards innovating better environments for citizens.
World Bank ICT Policy Specialist, Victor Mulas, helps cities develop and capitalize on new infrastructure. He has observed the social and business benefits derived from “Collaboration spaces spreading across urban innovation ecosystems.” These he says induce and accelerate urban renewal.
The cloud offers professionals and citizens virtual collaboration spaces and gives them access to information that helps achieve better personal and work outcomes.
If aeroplanes were built and operated like cites no one would fly in one. Now cities are deploying technology from aerospace and other highly efficient industries, including F1 motor racing, in a drive to improve services, promote universal access to information and accurately envision future performance.
Progressive cities are able to commit their work, including 3D digital models of buildings and services, to a unified platform and to build up an increasingly detailed model of the city when new projects are added. As more users contribute information a ‘time machine’ historic model will emerge. Historic situations become viewable while the progress of current work can be very accurately recorded and traced.
This visibility means the mistakes of the past can be avoided and routes to good decisions recorded because the unified platform helps people better understand the current situation and that of their predecessors. It also gives access to a view of what is to come. Adding details of future projects to the model allows decisions about utilities and other matters to be more fully examined and effectively dealt with.
Using shared 3D experiences to simulate cities reveals potential problems that may not be seen by any other means. Overlaying data reveals new views and it is possible, with Dassault Systèmes technology, to actually predict events. Transport systems, and hubs, public services, utility provision and security along with the location and operation of everything in the city can be modelled. Seamlessly linking the system to financial software allows cost planning and budgetary predictability. By this means potential problems and their outcomes can be observed and fixed before they occur.
Cities need to plan for the future and we are working with many of them deploying technology to create and evolve 3D digital city models. These are used as a central reference point for local government, urban planners, architects and citizens. 3D models help them define the future of cites based on ‘what if’ scenarios that the technology simulates. These can cover for example, heath provision, mobility, security and energy distribution.
Simulating cities and their services means they can become de-compartmentalised and considered as whole inter-related entities. This new perspective integrates formerly disparate departments making them better informed, more efficient and able to visualize current situations, and potential futures, with greater accuracy. That in turn leads to directly to better economic and social outcomes at a time when both are urgent requirements.