December 20, 2017

CHAOS architects: The Challenge Behind


If you have wanted to know more about what Smart Cities are and the solution that we are working on, this is a blog for you.

CHAOS architects was formed based on the premise that cities should be better planned and more sustainable environments to live in. However, we understand that cities are complex, and therefore the solution that we are constantly developing must be a cohesive and holistic one. More concretely, the current challenge is that our world is becoming much more urbanized than ever; a report from United Nations shows that by 2030 the urban population will double and cities’ areas will triple.

These numbers, along with other changing factors in our society, represent a big challenge if we want to build a sustainable world. For example, 40% of our world’s population is formed by young people below 24 years, meanwhile, people aged over 60 years account for 12%, representing the fastest growing rate at 3.26%. These two examples just mean that we have to be creative in producing new jobs and in building smarter and more sustainable cities.

CHAOS architects has taken these challenges seriously and hence, we started to work on a solution that would enable decision makers to take more educated decisions during the planning and building phases of cities. We think that there are two key elements that will allow us to understand and forecast cities: 1) Comparison of open and licensed data, and 2) people (yes, you). We believe that by combining the data that different systems are creating with the data that people produce in their living environment (ideas, behavior, paths) we could have data that will help us make better decisions in the future.

When we speak about Open Data we refer to that kind of data that governments are opening to the public. This data can be for instance, information about all the services that are located in the city, events taking place in the city or even the location of parking spaces. This data is significantly transforming the way that governments share information with the citizens.

In parallel, different applications as well as the Internet of Things, are producing new types of information. With these tools we are becoming extensively connected (network of networks), and this also means we are generating more data for cities. Moreover, it is estimated that this data will be doubling every two years.

Furthermore, with data such as the one produced by Geographical Information Systems, we are able to know what’s happening in the city by using spatial maps. For example, “in Santander (Spain), solid waste, parking spaces, air pollution and traffic conditions are monitored through 12,000 sensors installed around the city, providing city officials real-time information on service delivery.” (UN report, 2016).

When all this data is processed, we can gain more detailed and real-time information about cities. However, there is not yet a cohesive and holistic solution that would combine data from all these sources and would provide analytics that make sense for city leaders. This is what we develop at CHAOS architects.

For us, a city will be called smart when there is enough guidance for better “decision-making with respect to prosperity, sustainability, resilience, emergency management, or effective and equitable service delivery.” (UN report, 2016). Furthermore, we think that a Smart City is that one, that takes citizens and data into account.

But this is not an easy task, it requires a great deal of team-work and effort to make technologies work together. That’s why we are building a cloud service that collects data from different sources and transforms them into new readable analytics that allows to forecast the future of cities. With the information we produce we are able to understand, for example, where citizens need more schools or housing, and what are the demographics behind the people supporting retrofitting or urban ideas from a given area.

Moreover, by analyzing patterns and categories, we are able to provide information to city leaders, developers and builders to make more educated decisions in matters of the urban environment. For example, if the city-tag “bike paths” is often used by citizens using the Happycity application (CHAOS architects user’s interface), it means that there is a lack of good bike infrastructure in the city. Understanding this allows decision makers to allocate the right kind of budget for this kind of projects. Additionally, it provides a competitive advantage to builders, as they can easily comprehend where the most important needs are.

This is only a glimpse of what can be obtained through the analysis of big data, and this is something that our team at CHAOS architects will keep you updated with. On the meantime, you can start posting those things that at some point you have wanted to change in your city, with the use of our application called Happycity. It can be a small thing, like planting a tree, up to big infrastructure items like new roads. You don’t have to be an expert in architecture or urban planning, however you can let us know what kind of new additions or renovations would make your life easier in your city. When CHAOS architects gets your ideas, we will let all the stakeholders interested in the area know about them. This means that we will ping the city government, public officers, developers, builders and real estate stakeholders.

References used:
Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures, World Cities Report 2016, UN Habitat. ISBN Number (Series): 978-92-1-133395-4 ISBN Number (Volume): 978-92-1-132708-3

Download the Happycity app from Google Play Store and start sharing your ideas. Note that for iPhone users this will be available in early February!

Natalia Rincon
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