11 July 2020

Guest Article-Space Matrix Architects

SMART City-SMART Living-SMART Citizen from Fractal to Whole



Demands that force itself on Indian Cities are spun entirely out of the state of affairs which are rudimentary and dismal. Shrinking homes, deteriorating air, poor sanitation and overstretched transport facilities have left city residents with little expectation. In the next decade, 35 towns will grow into mega cities, each with a population of above 10 million. Within these monuments to third world urbanism, life will grind to a halt: the current 60 per cent of slums will rise to a whopping 90 per cent, traffic movement will decrease to a cycle speed of 5 km/h and family occupancy space will shrink from the present 200 square feet to a mere 80 square feet. It speaks volumes about painful, unanswered questions regarding their security, social and cultural life and their state of well-being.


The idea of Smart City encompasses Economy, Environment, People, Governance, Mobility and Living. The idea of a fractal emerges from the fact that it encompasses all the above mentioned parameters in varying degrees. The belief is that the fractal would lead to a multiplier effect finally impacting the city as a whole. The fractal is the building block for a Smart City.
SMART is an overarching concept which ties adaptation and resilience together. The attempt should be to create a sustainable habitat’s that is holistic in performance by responding to and balancing issues of environment, social lifestyles and economics. The built environment is a manifestation of technological innovation. The way technology is applied to design and construction of buildings have direct implications on the amount of energy consumed. In the modern context, habitats represent environments that are artificially   controlled and managed reinforcing a problematic relationship between design and technology. In this light it will be interesting to investigate the link between

Economic Growth and Value creation

  • Clean Environment and Green Development
  • Caring Community and Public Participation
  • Efficient Mobility and Safety/ Security
  • Housing Quality and Low carbon Lifestyle


Unlike its medieval conception as a place bounded by walls and gates, the new city, once built, will stretch beyond visibility and physical comprehension. It will house people, places, incidents and ideals that may never intersect with each other. But within the vast agglomeration will be the existence of smaller cities, places with personal boundaries with constant engagements for its local residents.


In many ways, these smaller, localised cities must enthral and engage in the traditional way. Such traditional intent can only be achieved through a radical reversal of property rights, zoning, bylaws and civic design.


The best cities are ironically built on undemocratic ideals. Even when innovating and providing opportunity, they enforce severe restrictions on daily life.


Restrictions have been designed for the larger common good and clearly state preferences for better public health, green space, and enriching the experience of surrounding heritage. Similar restrictive practices in future civic design will be necessary if problems of the current city are to be avoided.


Of the many threats to urban life, nothing is more repressive and mind-numbing than daily living without spontaneity, imagination and a ready dose of the unfamiliar.




As the intent of Smart takes over the city, the citizen needs to be made inclusive. They will have to take responsibility for the place they live, work and play. Importance will be given to Value access over ownership and contribution over power. It will push you to ask forgiveness, not permission. A smart citizen will know where he/she can get the tools, knowledge and support they need, appropriate technology rather than accept it as Value empathy. It will be about dialogue and trust which will help people who struggle with smart stuff, ask more questions, before they come up with answers. A Smart Citizen will actively take part in design efforts to come up with better solutions, pushing the boundaries of Work agile, Prototype early, Test quickly and know when to start over. The new age citizen will unremittingly share their knowledge and learning, this will generate True Value.


Path ahead - SMART City - SMART Living – SMART Citizen

The path ahead will encompass a measured sure of the following factors



  • Planning, usage and other policies governing the use of urban space and structures should facilitate innovation and changes of use including temporary changes of use.



  • Any information system in a city development should provide a clear policy for the use of personal information. Any use of that information should be with the consent of the individual.



  • Transport plans supporting new developments should demonstrate that they have not only provided for traditional transport demand, but also that which might be created by online business models and other social technologies.



  • New or renovated buildings should be constructed so as to be as functionally and technologically flexible as possible, especially with respect to their access, infrastructure and the configuration of interior space in order to facilitate future changes in use.



  • Any development should ensure wired and wireless connectivity is available throughout to the highest standards of current bandwidth with the capacity to expand to any foreseeable growth in that standard.
  • Any new development should demonstrate that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that information from its technology systems can be made openly available without additional expenditure, an era of open data.
  • The information systems of any new development should conform to the best available current standards for interoperability between IT systems in general and for interoperability in the built environment, physical infrastructures and smarter cities specifically
  • New developments should demonstrate that they have considered the commercial viability of providing the digital civic infrastructure services recommended by credible research sources.



  • Any data concerning a new development that could be used to reduce energy consumption within that development, or in related areas of a city, should be made open.
  • Property development proposals should indicate how they will attract business and residential tenants through providing up-to-date sustainable infrastructures for heat and power such as CHP, smart metering, local energy grids and solar energy.



  • Consultation on plans for new developments should fully exploit the capabilities of social media, virtual worlds and other technologies to ensure that communities affected by them are given the widest, most immersive opportunity possible to contribute to their design.
  • Management companies, local authorities and developers should have a genuinely engaging presence in social media so that they are approachable informally.
  • Local authorities should support awareness and enablement programmes for social media and related technologies, particularly “grass roots” initiatives within local communities.
  • Urban development and regeneration programmes should support the formation, activity and success of local food initiatives by cooperating with local community and business support programmes to support the infrastructures they need to succeed and grow.
  • Residential accommodation should incorporate space for environmental monitoring, interactive portals, and connectivity to enable remote support, tele-health systems and home working.



  • New developments should demonstrate through the use of the latest urban modelling techniques that they will increase connectivity – particularly by walking and cycling – between important value-creating districts and economic priority zones that are adjacent or near to them.
  • Developments should offer the opportunity of serendipitous interaction and innovation between stakeholders from different occupations.
  • Developments should provide or should be adaptable to provide facilities to enable the location and success of future ways of working including remote and mobile working, “pop-up” establishments and collaborative working spaces.
  • New developments should demonstrate that their design takes into account the latest, the best and emerging practises and patterns from Smarter Cities, smart urbanism, digital urbanism and place making.


To make SMART successful it is critical to consider urban life before urban place and urban place before technology. It is vital to demonstrate sustainability, scalability and resilience over an extended timeframe and also demonstrate flexibility to dovetail the constant needs of the urban citizen.


Leave a Comment

Email Address
(will not be published)