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2009 11 FIA Soft Infrastructure
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2009 11 FIA Soft Infrastructure


Talk at FIA conference in Stockholm on the role of the Future Internet in the City

Talk at FIA conference in Stockholm on the role of the Future Internet in the City

Published in Design , Technology , Real Estate
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  • an intro to arup, the way we explore the future – drivers of change, urbanisation, convergence and smart cities, the three areas we are focusing on
  • We are a global firm of designers, engineers, planners and business consultants, providing a diverse range of professional services to clients around the world. A partnership. Arup – Danish roots - Holistic design. Sustainability, shaping a better world at our core. We work from 91 offices on projects spanning 128 countries .
  • We work from 91 offices on projects spanning 128 countries sydney opera house 1959 – 1973 – iconic project for Ove
  • The building is sustainable & energy efficient. 90% of the solar energy falling on it, is trapped within the structural zone & will be used to heat the pools & interior. THE WATER CUBE, NATIONAL SWIMMING CENTRE, BEIJING, CHINA 17,000-seat swimming centre, with a total floor space of over 70,000m2 for the Beijing Olympics 2008. The Centre will be used prior & post Games as a multi-purpose leisure & elite swimming centre. The Water Cube, which was inspired by cells & soap bubbles will be clad in ETFE foil cushions. It is based on a common natural pattern, the most effective sub-division of three-dimensional space - the fundamental arrangement of organic cells & the natural formation of soap bubbles. It is also based on the way that structure tiles spaces. A structure based on this unique geometry is highly repetitive & buildable whilst appearing very organic & random. Also the ductile space frame that is generated from this geometry is ideally suited to the seismic conditions found in Beijing.
  • foresight works with thought leaders both inside and out the company to help identify trends that will affect the built environment – multi disc team – architect, engineer, art historian, physicist, economist, social scientist + many interns --- I am the geek
  • since 2003 we have been asking people about the future of the built environment – e.g. hotel of the future, interchange of the future, retail of the future. e.g. we did an exhibition in a shipping container for design week in tokyo – we had a sushi bar conveyor carrying the cards plus blanks – we received 1200 issues over the duration of the 1 week show.
  • The output of that research is our Drivers of Change project. To introduce the soft infrastructure work I will pull on 2 emerging trends – urbanisation and convergence (more info - During 2007/2008 we developed themed card sets around 6 specific themes – researchers interned with us to develop sets of 25 issues – these have also been supplemented with 2 sets on the theme of poverty and food.)
  • 1 - urbanisation– why is everyone moving to cities? WEALTH HEALTH OPPORTUNITY -
  • implications here for the kind of infrastructure that will be required in future cities – opportunities to leap frog in developing vs developed? different kinds of risks in developing communities – environmental, security, health….
  • 2 – soft infrastructure - The technology driving this change is maturing. Advanced Internet-related technologies include: - Mobile and location based technologies, including mobile and wireless devices and wideband networks, Mobile Web 2.0 and Near Field Communication. - The Internet of Things, Radio Frequency Identification and sensor networks. - Trustworthiness, security, identity and privacy management technologies. - Multimodal user interfaces; 3D Internet of virtual worlds - Urban computing and communication infrastructures, including computing resources, mesh networking, middleware and displays. - Modelling and simulation technologies.
  • Not sure what a smart city is. But I can see many aspects of change in cities that may lead to a smarter way for us to exist as a species in the environment we have inherited.
  • Cities rely on technology for their operation – backend systems are becoming integrated and increasingly are being raised on the agenda at the strategic planning stage of master planning – for example on Heart of Doha project client is asking really important questions about the infrastructure to be used. Heart of Doha – NOTE THIS IS JUST HAPPENING
  • Ebbsfleet - a new UK commuter town was looking at what could strategically differentiate it from other towns – the client understand that technology could play a key role in developing a sense of community in place so worked with us plus technology providers to design interactions. BUT not tech for the sake of it – a focus on developing community since the financial benefits of community are huge – they create desirable places to live which in turn drives up land prices
  • CIM – Pachube data feeds - SENSEI architecture we can create master-plans for cities based on masses of experience, modelling and simulation – BUT the future internet provides the mechanisms to create a FEEDBACK loop which allows us to analyse and predict in real-time the actions of real life.
  • Emergent urbanism is more about knitting together the everyday loose ends in urban fabric, the parts where individuals can coalesce into small groups and make a difference right away, outside of traditional planning processes that are choked by what coders call ‘cruft’ – the extraneous code that creates friction around otherwise elegant structures. Services such as FixMyStreet or Space Book. Yet there is potential here for a service which is not simply an advanced way of complaining or reporting to the city, but instead facilitates positive interventions; that would enable people to highlight these small spaces as possibilities for reinvention, suggest some new use cases
  • wifi – CREATE SENSE OF SPACE – SECURITY - “Equally, what wi-fi users inadvertently do for the Library — and the city — is make a significant contribution to activating the public space. Compared to the rest of the cultural centre precinct, where many of the open spaces are often sadly bereft of people at varying times of the day, the area around the wi-fi is defined by almost constant activity. As Library records show, there is only 1 hour to 2 hours each day where there is less than 10mb per hour being accessed over the wi-fi, which means that people are there almost all day.” via DH report perceptions of safety “It helps make the area feel safe, in the sense that the urban theorist Jane Jacobs would have recognised, via its own ‘eyes on the street’ rather than CCTV
  • urban informatics - design construct FEEDBACK via dan on Masdar - A city information model for Masdar can thus handle both longitudinal data on performance - from early stage planning through to ongoing post-occupancy evaluations, enabling the lifecycle approach anticipated for Masdar - to real-time feedback on activity, thus enabling attitudinal change and increased effectiveness in all aspects of city life. Real-time feedback on resource consumption can affect attitude, and thus engender behavioural change. Fed by sensors, the model analyses activity and provides feedback accordingly - in the form of informational services delivered to web, mobile and the street - and so in turn affects activity. The CIM provides the basis for all subsequent real-time data public services and displays.
  • IB 80’s – NOT UBI – ENERGY ROUTE - the Intelligent Building community have been working since the early 80’s on ideas related to this theme – but still not ubiquitous? – however, the mainstream understanding of the energy issue has changed the eco-system - energy monitoring is a primary app at the moment – most developers are now looking at smart metering, audits, green screens etc.
  • role of ambient displays, making it personal, feedback behaviour WALKING - examples of behaviour change include TfL “legible london” project – pedestrian wayfinding - realising that walking is a great form of public transport occupational pyschologists stress the importance for people of “being part of a group” – hence importance of social networks display here shows an ambient energy display in foyer using staff RFID card.
  • three trends that we are focusing on
  • to an increasing extent, people are now using digital media to ‘instrument’ their life; to monitor their body mass index or their fitness regime via Nike+; to track their personal music listening such that recommendations can be made; assess their real-time energy usage via smart meters, and generally share their precise location, activities and thoughts via social media. (Witness the front cover of July 2009’s Wired magazine, ‘Living By Numbers’.) This is over and above the increasing practice of institutional ‘monitoring’ of the way, say, cities are performing in real-time.
  • open platform - the notion of the ‘platform’ has BECOME THE UBIQUITOUS ORGANISING CONCEPT, business model and overriding cultural metaphor for our times, from Amazon’s platform for retail to Apple’s for music, from the Obama campaign’s platform for engagement to the numerous so-called ‘web 2.0’ applications which offer platforms for almost anything, from photos and video to broad social and cultural engagement in all its guises. A particular theme within that is of the ‘open platform’, whereby a system is created specifically with appropriation, adaptation and extension in mind.
  • the triple bottom line sense —a more sustainable mode of activity can be enabled by a heightened awareness of what economists call ‘externalities’; the otherwise hidden impact of human activity on the environment. – hence the feed back loop required
  • didn’t want to end on a graph so – if you want to contribute to examples of bits of cities that you would “cut or paste into the neighborhoods' you use – go to this project. it concerns a wider range of aspects of urban fabric and life - not simply spatial, though it can be - and also enables you to suggest things you'd like to see less of i.e. a cut from a city, as well as a paste into a city. So we might imagine suggested pastes into an urban environment could be elements of urban infrastructure - trams, funiculars, recycling systems, local food delivery services, community gardens - as well as services - integrated ticketing systems a la Oyster or Octopus or Go Cards, say. Cuts could be unnecessarily large freeways, examples of dreadful architecture, potential development sites being sat upon, shoddily run services and so on.
  • questions? only here until end of next break so catch me…
  • me – engineer, AI, heavily influenced by user centred design – web, product, service design – at arup joined R&D – set-up foresight activity
  • summary - we normally spend a day thinking about this, online versions, add comments


  • 2. Arup is no ordinary firm We are an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services. Through our work, we make a positive difference in the world. We shape a better world
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    • a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, scientists, academics, strategists and consultants.
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  • 8. “ The Urban population [in China] is to reach 1.12 billion by 2050; this is a shift of more than 600 million people from rural to urban.” Guangming Daily Urbanisation
  • 9. Urbanisation demographic change uncomfortably predictable Urban More Developed Rural More Developed Rural Less Developed Urban Less Developed Source: United Nations Population Information Network
  • 10. the merging of sciences and other disciplines the combination of sectors to create new business the convergence of technology
  • 11. smarter cities A diverse collection of people and activities driven by economic opportunities and social aspirations, access to public pedestrian space, solid infrastructure and cohesive inter-modality, functional and interdependent distribution systems, a vibrant mix of neighborhoods
  • 12. cities rely on technology
  • 13. Good place to live? Monocle says: 27% Zurich for scale and connections 23% Copenhagen for infrastructure and sunny disposition 15% Tokyo for its breadth of offerings and opportunity 10% Sydney for food and vistas 10% Kyoto for its intimate scale 10% Munich for its airport 5% Beirut for its edge technology > community > value
  • 14. top down
  • 15. bottom up “Next generation (of urban) resilience relies on citizens and communities, not the institution of state…” Demos UK
  • 16. edge of the internet
  • 17. urban informatics
  • 18. sustainable ICT
  • 19. changing perceptions
  • 20. data open platforms sustainability
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  • 22. appropriation adaptation extension
  • 23. sustainability Korea Thailand Brazil Mexico India China GJ/capita GDP/capita (‘000 1997$ PPP) Japan EU Australia US 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
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    • Social Hacking/ Social Innovation
  • 25. twitter @djdunc
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  • 28. What we do
    • Research
    • Projects developed to identify incremental and step-change opportunities for the built environment and business
    • Futures Workshops
    • Thought leadership through the engagement of key stakeholders and industry experts in dialogue and collaboration
    • Lectures
    • Communicating important future challenges, the global context and business implications to both industry and government heads
    • Publications
    • Detailed research results such as the drivers of change card set, offering provocative insights on major issues and their implications
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