New materials can be quite fascinating. Although some of them are not completely new but re-invented, which is often done by integrating things nature does by itself. Dezeen has a great list of ten future materials that could change the way we build. Favourites in this list: 3D-printed mycelium, hemp rebar, and carbon-sequestering Carbicrete (ok, the last one might be in part because it's from a Montréal company).
Trying things out, observing the results, learning from them, adjusting, trying again. A loop of learning and progressions that can be used at all scales, from personal projects to… cities. In this case, Singapore uses such a methodical approach to becoming a net-zero city.
Yes, the word “smart” is definitely overused, especially for cities and buildings. When at all needed, the technology aspect should actually be there to make us smarter, collecting data to help in making better decisions. That being said, there are quite a few good ideas in the article another frontier for the digital revolution about “smart buildings.” Like printed sensors and antennas to monitor problems and failures.
Though it is unnecessary to frequently update terms to highlight a potential area of interest, it is still highly useful to explore different perspectives. In this short article, the authors consider that the “Smart City” should rather be termed a “Deep Learning City”.
One “boring” aspect of how we built cities going forward is also a very old one, concrete. A material that’s been around since the Romans, humanity has produced an astonishing volume of it and is still doing so at a no less astonishing rate.