Designing with data: shaping our future cities

November 2013: A new report undertaken by ARUP for RIBA sets out that we are now at the  “Dawn of a ‘smart era [where the]  vast quantities of data we produce is set to revolutionise the way we design and build our cities”. A series of case studies are set out in ‘Designing with data: shaping our future cities‘ which includes the London Heat Map:

“One of the key benefits of adopting a smart approach to data is the ability to see lots of datasets in context with each other, and to detect temporal and spatial patterns. This transparency saves time and cost by reducing the time needed to find and process key data. The London Heat Map is a case in point. The interactive tool developed by the Greater London Authority (GLA) allows people to identify opportunities for Decentralised Energy projects in London, such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) or district heating networks. Public organisations, property developers, social landlords or investors can also use it to view spatial information that can help them identify and develop Distributed Energy opportunities, such as data on: major energy consumers, fuel consumption and carbon emissions,energy supply plants, community heating networks,and heat density. The London Heat Map will evolve overtime alongside the Decentralised Energy for London programme and become more useful and sophisticated as boroughs and other stakeholders start inputting more energy data into the map.”

The report goes on to quote Alan Shingler, Partner, Head of Sustainability, Sheppard Robson who states “smart data could help test the impact of likely building fabric improvements through the Government’s Green Deal or regeneration schemes, to show how the GLA’s Heat Map would adjust to these variables. The data could also be used to model the impact of new renewable energy generation and future development on the map. This would enable the creation of a resilient low carbon transition plan for London that would take into account a range of considerations….where Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is proposed, heat could be more freely shared with neighbouring residential developments, schools, or public buildings with a relatively high heat load.

Three recommendations are made in the report including one Energy for London strongly supports which is the greater ‘Digitisation the of the planning process’ where “Government should scope how it can standardise the digitisation of all information submitted for planning, and of standardising design data collection across local authorities. This public data should be open to unleash economic growth; and local authorities should be encouraged to use open data to inform local planning strategies.”

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