How to prepare for the urban shake-up
Urbanization is taking place worldwide and having a profound impact on the built environment. Eric Fang, principal at Perkins Eastman architecture firm, offers some insights into this megatrend as well as advice to ASSA ABLOY on how to take security into consideration when designing urban areas and product development.
What are the main global trends when it comes to urbanization and the built environment?
“More and more people are moving into cities and urban areas and there is more density and less sprawl. Public and private life is mixing and there is more complexity. We are seeing different people intertwining and mixed uses that we didn’t see before. How they come together has to be solved. We are finding increasingly creative ways of fitting more people into these spaces as well.”
What are some specific trends for the built environment in emerging markets?
“In many places in China, India, the Middle East and elsewhere, we have opportunities to build from the ground up entirely, designing new Smart Cities from scratch which incorporate the latest advances in wireless technology and automation. This is more of a challenge in western cities where so much infrastructure is already in place.“
More people are living together vertically and we are dealing with security concerns that involve fewer entrances for controlled access
How are structures being built differently to meet the needs of fast-paced urbanization?
“Governments throughout the world are trying to meet higher sustainability goals and that affects the materials we select, for example, high-performance insulation and mass timber. We are also seeing more pre-manufacturing and a focus on automated construction and affordability.”
Because people are living in increasingly smaller spaces, everything has to be more efficient and easy to service, and with not a square foot wasted
How do you take security into consideration when designing urban areas?
“More people are living together vertically and we are dealing with security concerns that involve fewer entrances for controlled access. We try to design cities that feel safe and discourage anti-social behavior to avoid relying too much on technology, security personnel, and more locks and keys. [This is achieved] through environmental design techniques like making sure there are eyes on the street and positioning active uses along busy streets.”
What advice would you give to ASSA ABLOY regarding product development?
“We are living in denser, more complex, and more automated cities that are increasingly dealing with the effects of climate change. When the electricity goes out, for instance, all the devices and services we rely on suddenly don’t work, and so in many respects we need to go back to doing things using mechanical means. We need to be able to continue to operate through these types of events. Also, because people are living in increasingly smaller spaces, everything has to be more efficient and easy to service, and with not a square foot wasted. Every piece of hardware needs to be carefully measured. ASSA ABLOY should be making everything more integrated – shelving, counters, door entrances – much like a ship’s design.”
Words: Cari Simmons