All images courtesy of RIBA.
Data- it’s everywhere and increasingly a part of our lives. We create it, store it, read it, send it, print it, and erase it on a constant basis- and while much of it may seem trivial or fleeting, there’s a surprising amount of data that every individual shares in public digital realms that can be used to better our lives. It’s exactly this premise that led the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and ARUP to spearhead an initiative that collects and processes our publicly shared data as a means to design the cities of our future. As permanent citizens of a cyber-grid, we produce, often times inadvertently, specialized maps that describe how we use and interact with our built environment. Studying this data and more importantly synthesizing it into information that is useful can be the future of urban planning. By living their daily lives, citizens are expressing what they value in a place and this information can be used to improve cities all around the world.
RIBA and ARUP have created a report with their initial findings based in the UK and are currently undertaking several initiatives to implement these concepts. They made three recommendations to the government in order to reconfigure the current governmental/political systems to work with these new strategies. The first recommendation: to improve coordination between governmental departments. Just as our phones have become ‘smart’ and interconnected and as a result more efficient in how they communicate and understand one another, so do our governing systems.
The second recommendation: facilitate the digitization of the planning process. Even if our governing bodies are on board with one another to implement changes, they need to be operating technologies and strategies that can effectively use this data in the urban planning stages in order to successfully execute the ideas.
The third recommendation: governing bodies should work hand in hand with the urban planning organizations, that is to say the experts, that focus on the building and planning process with specific insights into the digital world. These are the entities that can help guide these new strategies in the proper direction.
You can read the full report for free here.