Weekend Digest: April 26, 2019
Fri Apr 26

Weekend Digest: April 26, 2019

F.B. International’s Weekend Digest is a breakdown of noteworthy items we discovered throughout the week.

More from this week’s theme: Smart City Living

A rendering of Innovation Park in northern Nevada. The city may pioneer uses of blockchain infrastructure as the basis for a business and residential community. Courtesy of Erlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects and Tom Wiscombe Architecture. Image sourced from Photonics.

Smart cities and structures are quickly becoming the norm, but are they the answer to our metropolitan woes?

On one hand, yes. As outlined in an article from the latest edition of Photonics, smart cities offer optimized living. By amassing the data of their inhabitants, they create a sort of informed utopia. While more ambitious developments have plans to “track and store transactions such as banking and voting,” many designers aim to build people-centered cities with all the ingredients necessary for a tech-assisted happy life.

A rendering of the Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye smart city, which could provide 800,000 sq m of office space for the booming financial, legal, and auditing industries of Moscow. Construction on a 12-mile railway line to Moscow is expected to begin in 2020. Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects/Flying Architecture. Image sourced from Photonics.

On the other hand, perhaps not. Take, for instance, the project in Songdo, South Korea. Developers rebuilt this sleepy Korean town into a beacon of technologically advanced living. Residents control virtually everything in their homes from lighting to temperature from a control panel, and pneumatic tubes send trash straight from their homes to facilities where it’s sorted, recycled, or burned. The only problem with this community is that it lacks, well, community. The city’s engineers aimed to build structures that would address dwellers’ every need, hopefully eliminating the less favorable aspects of city living. Unfortunately, although they were successful in that regard, they were also successful in eliminating people’s need to go outside and connect with each other.

In a rush, the Incheon government had developers build several apartment complexes—only to have many of them sit empty as Songdo struggled to attract new residents. (Mikensi Romersa/CityLab). Image sourced from Citylab.

Brasilia, fashioned in the mid 20th century, is another example of a smart city that didn’t exactly live up to expectations. Urban planners and architects worked together to build a city that brought government closer to the people. The capital is accessible, but the city itself—for the hundreds who travel hours to get there to work low income jobs—is not. Envisioned as an egalitarian utopia, Brasilia is now admittedly a place where privilege rules. In trying to solve one set of problems, it’s a wonder they didn’t plan to address the new ones these projects might create. 

As far as we’re concerned, the jury’s still out on smart cities. Before they can be hailed as a universal answer to shortcomings in traditional metropoles, we need some assurances. Smart cities, above all, need to be accessible, and to make life equitable. Their technology should add ease to day-to-day living as opposed to making it easier to become completely dependent on technology. Whether smart cities can deliver on these points remains to be seen.

Upcoming events you may be interested in:

May 16: Marketing Strategies for Global Trade Shows: One Size Does Not Fit All. Luncheon program sponsored by the International Trade Association of Greater Chicago. Presentation by Larry Kulchawik, Author, Trade Shows from One Country to the Next, who will examine three critical areas when planning for a trade show abroad: Rules & regulation differences; Exhibit design style; Cultural differences when engaging with a global buyer. 11:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Carlucci Rosemont, 6111 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. ITA/GC Members – $50; Nonmembers – $75.

Author: Tyler Myles, Marketing Associate

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