Infrastructure & Cities

[Video] Flexible cities: The future of Australian infrastructure

November 22, 2018

Jeremy Kingsley
Senior Editor, The Economist Intelligence Unit

Jeremy is a managing editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit based in London and regional lead of the The EIU's Technology & Society practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He leads a regional team of analysts and editors on policy research, consulting and thought leadership programmes exploring technological change and its impacts on society. He joined The EIU in 2017 from Nesta, the innovation foundation, where he oversaw the Challenges of Our Era research programme on grand challenges. He previously edited Nesta's magazine, served as a contributing editor at WIRED, and has spent more than ten years covering technology and innovation as a journalist and researcher for The EIU, The Economist, The Financial Times, Slate, and others. He studied at Trinity College Dublin and the London School of Economics.

Amidst an accelerating pace of change, urban infrastructure is increasingly being built with 'flexibility' in mind. Future-proofing cities against uncertain technological disruption, demographic shifts or environmental change.

The effective adoption of digital technology will be key to this transformation. Sydney Metro, Australia's biggest public transport project will feature a driverless mass-transit system informed by large amounts of real-time data, that is anticipated to double the existing capacity.

In Quayside, Toronto, acres of formerly industrial coastal land is being rebuilt as a highly sensor-enabled smart-city. Through continuous generation and analysis of data, the city will be nearly 'self-run'.

Flexibility is informing the physical design of new works, too. In New York, The Shed, a cultural venue scheduled to open in 2019, is built with flexibility in mind. Multiple spaces can be endlessly reconfigured to accommodate virtually any cultural discipline, present or yet to be imagined.

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