Autonomous, Real-Time, and Dynamic configuration of public space in smart cities.
Author: Luca Lezzerini
Affiliation: Polis University
Although there is not yet a worldwide accepted formal defnition of what a Smart City is, the concept is already very used in architecture, engineering, and human sciences and is one of the most important research and development areas of the near future. The article focuses on the observation that smart cities are near to being ready to have the capability to temporarily
reconfgure the use of their public spaces, either autonomously or in a human supervised way. A smart city can rearrange the way a portion of its public space (e.g.: squares, accessible streets, stations, parks, …) is used, directly communicating with people, vehicles, drones, road signs and other elements that use and manage the public space. This can be done autonomously by “the city” (e.g. trafc jam detection, statistical prediction, …) or under human-driven requests (e.g. large meetings or crowded events, emergencies, road works, …). Such capability is mostly made possible by technology (ICT, robotics, nanotechnologies, …) but can be improved and governed through careful urban planning and design. Ruling and leveraging such features is a very new feld in urban planning and design and is very important to efectively take advantage of the smart city paradigm regardless of the size of the smart city. In smart cities, the public space has also gained a virtual expansion through cyberspace, leading to a new concept where virtual and real spaces intersect, meet, and, often, melt together. The paper analyses the public space defnition in a smart city, its arrangement in diferent classes, and the ways of reconfguring it. Then the challenges that urban planning frst, and urban design second, must face to leverage in the best way such opportunities are explored, and a frst set of guidelines to develop a methodology for this scope is described. The paper considers both normal conditions and emergency conditions (including epidemics) and describes the principles of a new methodology to enhance urban planning, leveraging this smart city’s ability to dynamically reconfgure the public space.
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