Built Environment: Page 2 of 10

The city-building connection

In most cities, the built environment is a patchwork of private and city-owned buildings. But even though a city government may own only a small fraction of the buildings, it can hold great sway over all buildings in its jurisdiction. For instance, it can:

Lead by example and ensure that its own buildings adhere to the targets explained in this chapter, unleashing the power of ICT in public buildings.

Create and enforce codes and standards that embody the changes it wants

Create incentives for owners to make their buildings smart

Educate residents through public awareness and outreach campaigns

Provide support and guidance by giving access to advice and trained staff via web, phone or in person

The methods cities adopt for driving change in built environments will vary, of course, but leaders pursuing a smart cities agenda will want smart buildings as an action item.

So what are the technology and best practices targets that enable a smarter built environment? This chapter will discuss how targets introduced in the Universal chapter apply to the built environment. But first, a quick look at dependencies in the built environment and then the benefits an intelligent built environment provides.

Dependencies within the built environment

Improvements in the built environment will need to be planned with an understanding of dependencies on other city systems and services. If we limit our dependency list to just three other systems for the sake of simplicity, it is easy to see that buildings rely on services from energy, communications and water systems.

The connection is pretty straightforward. Commercial, industrial and residential building systems alike all require electricity and/or natural gas. Many will be adding electric vehicle charging stations in the years ahead, which is something cities need to take into consideration. Building occupants require potable water and wastewater removal. And reliable communications are a requirement today for business and industry as well as residents.