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15 March 2016

Using Big Data to Design Smart Cities

2 Istanbul Financial Center - Aerial - Credit HOK

HOK has launched a new suite of Smart Cities design solutions that will be unveiled this week at MIPIM 2016 in Cannes, France.

To address the global pressures of urbanization and population growth, planners need to design cities that will accommodate future uses while providing a good quality of life. HOK’s innovative city planning tools integrate measurable data sources into the design process.

Ninety percent of the world’s data has been generated over the last two years. HOK’s planning and design teams are harnessing multiple layers of this big data to inform the master plans that are shaping the cities of the future. The firm has integrated this data into recent city planning projects in the UK, Spain, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Chris Fannin is the director of Planning “The ability to incorporate data into our design work offers us the opportunity to create dynamic urban models to carefully plan quality of life considerations and evaluate a city’s performance against specific criteria,” said Chris Fannin, a director of planning at HOK. “Using this data yields cost and time savings while enabling us to create dynamic city plans that are flexible to accommodate changing variables and future development.”

HOK’s approach integrates key data about transport flow, amenity spaces, urban density, energy use, demographic changes and several other factors to evaluate the livability of a neighborhood or city.

Adopting a design-led, data-driven approach to creating Smart Cities enables planners to:

  • Quantify and analyze the characteristics of a location—such as exploring correlations between well-being, transport access and open spaces—in a site analysis.
  • Integrate the qualities of a place into a project’s programming language and design code, generating rapid, large-scale city design options with multiple variations.
  • Develop a live city model or master plan built with data layers and information about a project. This enables the plan to quickly adapt to changes and to contribute to design and construction cost savings while reducing the risks of a new development.
  • Use data to change the appearance and function of a place, such as relying on live data sources monitoring cyclist demand to automatically open additional bike lanes on restricted road networks.