The Infrastructure of a Smart City

Cities have always been built around and are dependent upon their infrastructure. Most early cities were built next to rivers or bodies of water. Water is needed for drinking and growing food and cleaning. Clay and rocks were used as construction materials, so proximity to sources that supplied them was a priority. Energy has always been important, from the days of firewood and coal, up to solar photo voltaic electricity. But how all of these resources were planned or managed was a hodgepodge evolution as technology and culture changed.

A city that is designed and built from zero can incorporate infrastructure elements with specific objectives from the beginning. Water and energy usage can be closely monitored with the goal of minimizing waste. The city can be designed to work in harmony with natural forces, capturing energy from solar and wind activity and utilizing geo-thermal stability. Urban cores that are primarily pedestrian will work if there is little need to move and they can be supplied from efficient transportation modes at their edges.

Legacy requirements for city design were driven by the need for commerce that depended upon many people being close together. Cities that are spread out can be better sustained by techniques like rain collection and solar power. With advanced communication technologies decreasing the need for people to gather in a single place, this becomes more practical.

The placement of cities was also driven by infrastructure needs that directed masses of population to coastal areas and along the banks of rivers. Newer, smarter cities can be developed anywhere along with needed infrastructure. It makes more sense to integrate population with agriculture and design infrastructure to suit geography.

As our cities become smarter, they are also likely to become flatter and more dispersed.

Comments are closed.