Smart Cities of the Future

Because this week’s project is focused on cities, I have decided to research designs of cities for the future. I have read this article from BBC that analyzes an upcoming design trend of twin cities: the actual city in the world and the virtual city created with data.

Picture of Singapore; Downloaded from BBC article, original from NRF Singapore
Digital Rendering of Singapore’s virtual twin; Downloaded from BBC article, original from NRF Singapore

The idea behind modeling a city with a virtual copy is that cities are figuratively alive. From millions of people moving around through various transportation modes to cycles of construction projects blocking roads, cities are dynamic ecosystems where one component affects the many interconnected parts of the city. Utilizing internet of things sensors, big data, and cloud computing, engineers are able to visualize and record characteristic of cities such as traffic, pedestrian flow, and wind speed. The data can then be processed with machine learning and AI algorithms to increase efficiency or create prediction models to see how proposed construction projects will affect the city.

BBC: “Software can model wind flow through built up areas”

For example, sensors can be used to record how wind is flowing currently through parts of a city. If the wind speed is too fast, people would less likely to visit the area. With the data and modeling software, urban planners can create prediction models to see if adding more trees would help reduce wind speed to levels that are more comfortable with people.

It was very interesting to read about how can data science can be combined with urban planning to create cities that are smarter. I hope to see this trend continue and grow because how a city is designed and maintain will help me appreciate my urban environment more.

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