Introduction

Recently I came across an article on immersive theatre experience, about a play called, “The Raven”, based on the life and works of the famous English poet Edgar Allan Poe. The whole premise is futuristic and pioneering, and one of its crucial and novel features is its use of the Internet of Things or IoT. Internet of things is simply a network of objects or “things” that collect and send data to the Internet, hence the name. It is how Alexa can interact with human voices and connect us to the Nexus of Data. Wearables like smartwatches are also applications of IoT. Amazon recently announced that it is going to open new checkout-free retail stores, where customers can walk in, pick up the items they require, and simply walk out without having to endure those endless checkout queues. This can only be made possible via IoT. The Government of the country announced a “100 smart cities mission” in 2015. Ever wondered what is that all about? It is about building cities with efficient administrations, that is sustainable and user friendly as well.

Smart cities contain:

  • Various computing devices that use IoT to send, receive, process and store data to conserve energy and connect all of those devices to a larger platform.
  • Provide access to recorded data.
  • Remove transportation ‘roadblocks’ such as traffic jams.
  • Build a better surveillance system.
  • Enhance security of residents.
  • Efficient data storage and sharing among government bodies, among others, for predictive analysis among future models.


Infrastructure

Due to the pivotal role modern technology plays in the very conception and implementation of the smart city project, there is a need to ingrain techno-savvy infrastructures, such as labs and maintenance centers, there also needs to be a proper grid system for the placement of sensors, routers, and CCTV cameras, so that the devices can be kept in check.


Planning

The planning should be such that it promotes an overall sense of harmony and integration of community spaces and more open planning in individual buildings. Roads should be wide and capable of accommodating a large influx of traffic without causing a jam. 


Architecture 

The architecture of smart cities would largely depend on technological factors, such as the placement of actuators and sensors in the building. There needs to be generous employment of geometric forms for proper servicing. The architecture needs to be more accepting, all-encompassing as the smart city in a culturally diverse country as ours needs to keep communal prejudices at bay and set foundation stones to a more conditioned housing system. There needs to be great attention to planning and the site level design needs to be a patchwork of cultures and practices. The architecture of individual buildings should be reminiscent of the ancient but have the vision of the future. The vernacular design should be used as a model for buildings that respond to the climate, large courtyards, community gardens, verandahs, and use of low thermal density materials such as wood or mud (in hot climatic zones). Each building should have its own character so that a smart city is not a series of monotonous blocks but a celebration of each family’s individuality. There should be provisions for more sustainable implementations in the future, smart cities need to be flexible enough to accommodate the ever-dynamic needs of its user group. Energy efficiency should be one of the foremost issues to be kept in mind while designing even the smallest of the units. Vegetation on a unit and larger scale is crucial to keep pollution in check, and also create a sense of belonging to spaces.

A smart city should make its user feel closer to nature, and thus promote green buildings. Also, the nature of large spaces shall be multifaceted, to be more accepting of the diversity of the user groups. The spaces should unfold in the mannerisms of a story, with each space offering something unique and captivating for a person to scrutinize. The volumes of the spaces should be alternating, between closed and open. The interiors of housing units should be personalized and cozy, to comfort the user, whereas the community spaces shall be designed with an outrageous boldness that gives it a feeling of grandeur. Balcony spaces and open terraces should be introduced into the plans for more cross ventilation and to allow the indoor spaces into the outdoors.


Conclusion

 These are a few parameters that might shape a new style of architecture, one that is derivative of the old, and embracing of the new. Maybe one-day reality as we know it might change, and architecture would just be something you experience via Virtual Reality. The possibilities are endless, and with the onset of new technology, we as architects can only hope and study these technologies to better accommodate the interests of our profession into it.