New framework looks at how technology is changing our cities

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The Urban Land Institute, a non-profit grop creating sustainable communities, has launched an Urban Technology Framework to help cities advance into the next generation.

The Urban Technology Framework has identified 12 current trends that will shape metropolitan hubs, the group said. 

This in turn, will help developers and architects who are responsible for delivering future cities.

Key tech trends include 3D printing transforming the way we build, and the Internet of Things (IoT) progressing smart buildings from stationary structures to machines.

Digitalisation will transform business models, causing the existing sharing economy to extend even further: with people sharing houses, cars and even clothes, the ULI said.

Cities of the future: How UKI sees the changes ahead

Three main themes

The framework sets out the trends into three themes - digital technologies, urban land factors and business models - that will further transform our cities. 

These must be considered in every plan for the future, and how they will affect communities, institutions, buildings and the public realm, the group said.

Digital technologies will transform the way we interact with and in cities. Current technologies have enabled our communities to no longer be limited to locality, as small and fluid tribes are increasingly defined by digital and physical worlds. 

Further technologies, from increased connectivity through IoT to smart machines and driverless cars, will likely have as significant an impact.

Urban factors

Urban land factors create the context that digital technologies need to work in. These factors can be people, organisations, scale of development and stage of design. 

Property developers and architects have the opportunity to integrate technologies in design to respond to changes in the way people work or travel.

Finally, digital organising and business models will use technologies to deliver services in urban centres. 

Cities of the future will enjoy digital retail, a focus on customer experience, and an expansion of the sharing-economy.

Property developers and architects will have to consider the trends in transformational change facing cities and people’s living experience. 

The Urban Technology Framework said it can act as a guide in this urban transformation process.

The Urban Technology Framework is an initiative of the ULI Tech Forum, co-chaired by Adam Burstow, a Group Digital & IT Director at Grosvenor Group and Ed Parham, an Associate at Space Syntax. 

Lauren Poon, associate at CallisonRTK, is acting as its vice chair.

How will we shape our cities? 

“The ULI Urban Technology Framework illustrates how technology intersects with our urban areas and aims to provide a platform to understand how we shape our cities”, said Adam Burstow, Co-Chair of the ULI UK Tech Forum. 

“From new business opportunities to digitalised worlds, there are ever increasing possibilities for tech advancements and with our framework, urban professionals can better understand how waves of technology could influence our urban environment.”

“The ULI Urban Technology Framework illustrates how technology intersects with our urban areas and aims to provide a platform to understand how we shape our cities”, said Ed Parham, who is also a Co-Chair of the ULI UK Tech Forum. 

“From economic opportunities to social benefits, there are ever increasing possibilities for tech advancements and with our framework, urban professionals can better understand how digital technologies could improve our cities and create value for the people that are part of them.”

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