A Provisional Who’s Who of Smart City Architects and Planners (Plus a Critic or Two) from Architect Magazine

Maria Aiolova, assoc. aia
co-founder, terreform one
An architect, educator, and urban designer
who holds 18 technology patents, Aiolova
co-founded Terreform One, a design
research nonprofit in Brooklyn, N.Y. The
group looks to technology, design, and
synthetic biology to develop sustainable,
localized solutions for transportation,
infrastructure, waste treatment, food, water,
energy, and other concerns.

John Bachmann
vice president, aecom
Bachmann manages the master planning
for Visakhapatnam, India—one of 100 such
plans that the country has in the works.
Vizag , as the effort is known, aims to create
a sustainable smart city in a coastal region
that is already home to 4 million residents,
employing data-driven strategies that can
be overlaid on existing infrastructure rather
than building from the ground up.

Alison Brooks
principal and creative director,
alison brooks architects
London-based Brooks uses cultural
research to inform community-centric
design. She believes that single-use
buildings are a thing of the past, and
advocates for architecture that can serve a
variety of roles. For her Audi Urban Future
Initiative research, Brooks explored the
intersection of densification of cities and
ride-sharing using connected devices.

Dominique Davison, aia
founding principal,
draw architecture + urban design
Kansas City, Mo.–based Davison is a
classically trained cellist, punk bass
player, and architect who leads a team that
employs data visualization, processing,
and analysis to improve understanding
of cities’ environmental impact. That
research became PlanIT Impact, a startup
that aims to increase planners’ ability to
realize net-zero cities. The company’s
software analyzes the impact that energy,
water, and transportation have on building
performance.

Jan Gehl, hon. faia

co-founder and senior adviser, gehl Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the revered architect and urban planner helped transform that city into one that prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists, and public space. A critic of the current concept of smart cities, he has expressed concern that the strategies employed will not improve resident quality of life.

Margaret Newman, faia
principal, arup
As a principal in Arup’s New York office,
Newman’s focus is on urban design,
public space, and multimodal network
development. Her prior experience as chief
of staff to Janette Sadik-Khan at the New
York City Department of Transportation
and as executive director of the Municipal
Art Society of New York have informed her
focus on creating sustainable, integrated
urban design that promotes economic
growth, resiliency, and diversity.

Zenon Radewych
principal, wzmh architects
Radewych is a principal at Toronto-based
WZMH Architects. The firm’s development
of an Intelligent Structural Panel, with
plug-and-play infrastructure that allows
wireless control of building systems made
it the first architecture firm to participate in
Microsoft’s global Internet of Things Insider
Labs accelerator.

Carlo Ratti
director, mit senseable city lab
Also the founder of Turin, Italy–based
practice Carlo Ratti Associati, Ratti is a
professor at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, and the director of MIT’s
Senseable Cities Lab, which investigates
how layering technology and data on urban
environments can create what it terms a
“real-time city.”

Adrian Smith, faia, and Gordon Gill, faia
founding partners, adrian smith +
gordon gill architecture

In addition to designing Masdar
Headquarters outside Abu Dhabi, United
Arab Emirates—which targeted being the
world’s first energy-positive building—the
duo’s Chicago-based practice has used
smart city strategies in further master
planning projects, such as the 28-building
Astana Expo City 2017 complex in the
Kazakhstan capital.

Ben van Berkel, hon. faia
founder and principal architect,
unstudio, unsense studio
Van Berkel is the founder and principal
architect of Amsterdam-based architecture
firm, UNStudio. It’s offshoot, UNSense—
launched in March 2018—explores
integrative for the built environment
to improve the efficiency of cities, and
the quality of life of their residents. The
independent startup/innovation platform
focuses primarily on sensor-based
technologies for cities, individual buildings,
and interiors “in order to humanize
architecture,” according to the firm.

James von Klemperer, faia
president and design principal,
kohn penderson fox associates (kpf)

Von Klemperer led the team that created the master plan for New Songdo City, a 1,500-acre development in Incheon, South Korea, which combines classic urban amenities such as a 100-acre park with innovations such as a pneumatic waste collection system. The firm’s KPF Urban Interface uses data analytics to inform future city design.

Toni Griffin
founder, urban planning for the american city

In addition to leading initiatives such
the Detroit Future City plan, Griffin is an
urban planning professor at the Harvard
Graduate School of Design. There, she
founded the Just City Lab, which promotes
integrating social justice into the planning
of future cities. “We’re also interested in the
distribution of non-material goods, such
as power, rights, and decision-making. You
have to think about representation, and
accountability, empowerment, and trust,”
she told CityLab last summer. “And those
are … not something you can sit at your
desk and get quantitative data on. These
[things] have to be measured qualitatively,
which means using the experience of
people on the ground as data points.” The
lab’s Just City Index weighs planning
against 12 resident-centric tenets, such as
resiliency, democracy, and mobility.

Rem Koolhaas, hon. faia co-founder, oma
The Dutch architect has been a vocal
critic of smart cities, notably in his 2014
presentation at the Brussels Smart City
conference. “We are fed cute icons of urban
life, integrated with harmless devices,
cohering into pleasant diagrams in which
citizens and business are surrounded
by more and more circles of service that
create bubbles of control. Why do smart
cities offer only improvement? Where is the
possibility of transgression?”

Keiichi Matsuda
designer
A designer and filmmaker based in London,
Matsuda explores the effects of augmented
reality on the average citizen. In his 2016
film, Hyper-Reality, Matsuda presents
a futuristic city where individuals utilize
virtual interactive interfaces to engage with
the physical environment.

Smart City Gold Rush

Given trillion-dollar projections for the
smart city market, it should come as no
surprise that the world’s largest tech
companies see it as a major growth
opportunity. Legacy players such as
AT&T and Honeywell are in competition
with giant upstarts such as Amazon
and Alibaba, offering a host of products,
systems, and services to governments,
utilities, and other potential clients. Market
research firm Compass Intelligence’s
A-List in Smart Cities Index ranks the top
companies in the space, those that provide
solutions for “energy, transportation, real
estate, management systems, device
connectivity, data capture, video analytics,
lighting, public safety, public health, crisis
management, and automation.”

The New Gold Rush

Given trillion-dollar projections for the smart city market, it should come as no surprise that the world’s largest tech companies see it as a major growth opportunity. Legacy players such as AT&T and Honeywell are in competition with giant upstarts such as Amazon and Alibaba, offering a host of products, systems, and services to governments, utilities, and other potential clients. Market research firm Compass Intelligence’s A-List in Smart Cities Index ranks the top companies in the space, those that provide solutions for “energy, transportation, real estate, management systems, device connectivity, data capture, video analytics, lighting, public safety, public health, crisis management, and automation.”

1. General Electric
2. Intel
3. AT&T
4. Microsoft
5. Amazon (AWS)
6. Honeywell
7. IBM
8. Google
9. Cisco
10. Dell
11. Ericsson
12. Qualcomm
13. Huawei
14. Verizon
15. Schneider Electric
16. Siemens AG
17. Nokia
18. Oracle
19. Apple
20. SAP
21. Johnson Controls
22. Hitachi
23. ABB
24. HPE
25. Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile)
26. Nvidia
27. Samsung
28. SoftBank
29. Itron
30. Alibaba
31. Sprint
32. InterDigital/Chordant
33. Facebook
34. Baidu
35. Tencent Holdings
36. ST Engineering
37. OSIsoft
38. Alstom (by GE)
39. Eaton
40. DNV-GL

3 architects discuss who talk about “Smart Cities”

Paul Doherty is a registered architect,
the chairman and CEO of the international
company The Digit Group (TDG), an
honorary senior fellow of the Design Futures
Council, and a fellow of the International
Facility Management Association. His past
ventures include Revit Technology and
Buzzsaw (both purchased by Autodesk),
and TRIRIGA (purchased by IBM). TDG is
currently involved in numerous smart city
plans and real estate developments around
the world.

Debra Lam is the managing director of
Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation for
Georgia Tech, and founder of the Georgia
Smart Communities Challenge. Previously,
she served as Pittsburgh’s first chief of
innovation and performance, where she
crafted the city’s landmark strategic plan,
the “Pittsburgh Roadmap for Inclusive
Innovation,” and she was a policy and urban
sustainability associate and senior consultant
at Arup. She sits on the MetroLab Network
and Neighborhood Nexus boards.

Anthony Townsend is the founder of
Bits and Atoms, a smart cities strategy
consultancy and planning studio, based
in New York, that works with industry,
government, and philanthropy on economic
development, digital placemaking, and
technology forecasting. He is also the author
of Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers
and the Quest for a New Utopia (W.W.
Norton & Co., 2013). In 2001, he co-founded
NYCwireless, a pioneer in the community and
municipal wireless movement.

 

 

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