SMART Communities and MODe

With more people living in cities, it becomes harder to move people around efficiently and in a sustainable manner. In the past, planning and development bureaus have driven smart community development or at least in places like Hong Kong and China. However, now developers have found that a smart community is a competitive advantage in the marketplace and are pushing ‘green design’ (at least on paper).

The reality is that few communities are really smartly-built –the smart part is promotional talk and little is actually done, due to cost and other excuses.

The two biggest obstacles hindering the development of smart communities are ongoing sprawl and lack of mobility choices.

As the cost of housing and the demand for affordable housing increases in our urban areas, the city spreads out causing congestion from commuters and strain on existing transit systems.

The solutions are twofold:

1. planning and implementing true mixed use communities where living, working, playing and learning co-exist, reducing the need for commuting to other places or

2. expanding the transit network to connect walking, biking, taxis, buses, trains, and even ferries in a convenient and safe manner, with the objective of providing transport choices (besides driving) within a five minute walk of every household.

Mobility Oriented Development (MODe) provides these solutions and is the next generation of TOD (Transit Oriented Development). It is focused on people’s need to get around their cities conveniently and safely with multi-modal choices and an emphasis on the socio-economic benefits of the presence of transit. This is particularly important to government and transit agencies in building the business case for expanding and maintaining transit systems. To developers needing a predictable investment environment, and to institutions or corporations who need access to qualified personnel. The Arcadis analytic, MODex, is used to assess current communities and potential smart communities in quantitative terms of prosperity, revenue, and property values, as well as qualitative terms of facilities, urban form, transit connectivity, and the like.

This integrated design approach makes smart communities an ‘investable’ reality for public and private interests.

Diane Legge Kemp

Vice President, CallisonRTKL +852 9450 9103 Ask me a question
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