Hundreds of architects, planners and smart technology boffins packed into New London Architecture (NLA) last night for the opening of a new exhibition exploring ‘Smarter London’.
The show explores how data, technology and analytics are changing the way we design, build and manage the city. It was opened by Bill Hillier of Space Syntax, who said that London was a smart city not just in technological terms but in terms of the way that it is put together.
‘When I was young, London was regarded as a mess, chaotic, it had no order to it’, he said. ‘It needed to be tidied up into a set of neatly defined neighbourhood units, separated by main roads.’ But Space Syntax’s modelling work over the years inside the M25 on streets, networks and areas like Trafalgar Square and the South Bank had revealed that London is not a mess at all but ‘a subtle and delicate structure’. Street structures themselves, Hillier added, created movement patterns and London has hundreds, perhaps thousands of centres. ‘Movement is the heart of place and it is movement that creates place’, he said.
As London’s population grows to more than 10 million people over the next decade, the host of complex tasks the city has to deliver requires more innovative solutions. ‘Smarter London’ uncovers a host of exciting smart projects taking place in London and examines the role of data in the development of a single building or even large-scale city-wide infrastructure projects such as Crossrail to the new role that gaming plays in community consultation projects. ‘Smarter London’ also explores what the capital might look like in the future.
Visitors to the exhibition can explore a virtual London from an entirely new perspective. Exhibits include the Pigeon Sim – which uses gesture control to swoop and soar high over the city or a model of London that shows real-time data on the state of the Capital, featuring aircraft positions, Barclays Cycle Hire status, the height of the Thames and traffic information.
Curator and NLA chairman Peter Murray said: “The world of smart cities is increasingly crowded and complex. The exhibition and Insight Study provide an insight into the impact on London's planning of this fast changing field from individual fitness monitors to city-wide transport systems.”
The exhibition is the result of a six month NLA Insight Study, carried out with research partners The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), University College London. It is hosted at The Building Centre from 9 October to 18 December, and is supported by a programme of NLA talks and debates.
‘Smarter London: How digital technologies are shaping the capital’ is supported by: Programme sponsors: Arup, Parsons Brinckerhoff, The Crown Estate; Sponsors – Derwent London, Lend Lease, Ramboll; Associate sponsors: Bloom Worldwide, Great Portland Estates, Grosvenor, Inmidtown, Museum of London Archeology (MOLA); Supporters: Croydon Council