The data revolution – disrupting how we create, sustain and transform our built environment

Looking through the programme for this week’s World Architecture Festival (WAF) I’m pleased to see big data featuring on day 1. Data has and continues to transform the way we plan, design and build, and how we create lasting environments that enhance the lives of those who use them.

The power of gathering, analysing and applying data cannot be underestimated and it will continue to offer masterplanners, architects and designers lots of opportunity in years to come.

We at Hilson Moran have whole heartedly embraced big data. The benefit of computation fluid dynamic modelling, building models of more than 100 million cells and the ability to simulate solutions at the touch of a button has transformed how we design. It has made the end result infinitely better, not least because of the many more alternatives we can consider with little time lost and at minimal cost.

Now we’re moving to the next level and integrating data and visual tools to enhance results even further. New programming tools develop scripts that allow us to analyse and scrutinise big data coupled with advanced 3D visualisation. We’ve also developed our own healthy cities tool, which I mentioned in my last blog. The Healthy Cities Assessment Tool or H-City for short allows us to test and predict street and/or district comfort and air pollution levels at a moment in time and across the whole year. This is bringing a new approach to urban design that is welcomed by the architects we collaborate with as well as the clients we serve.

Using big data can create better sustainable design, while at the same time designing for people so buildings and districts can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come. We need to keep on top of new developments so we can use it to its fullest potential.

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