Each year on Oct. 31, the world celebrates World Cities Day. Started in 2013 by the United Nations (UN) as part of their Sustainable Development Goals “to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable,” this day shines a light on the community’s interest in global urbanization and encourages global and local leaders to address the common challenges their cities are facing.
The future of cities is undeniably one of the greatest challenges the world faces today. From growing urban populations to climate change and stricter regulations, there are many obstacles architects, engineers, and government stakeholders will have to overcome in order to create the city of tomorrow.
What does the city of tomorrow look like? It’s going to look a little different for everyone, but many will imagine a city that is easy to navigate, uses green energy, has affordable and sustainable forms of transportation, provides access to clean water and electricity, and is safe from natural disasters – just as a starting point.
At Dassault Systèmes we are keenly focused on providing solutions that address the challenges cities face head-on. By providing virtual twin experiences of cities, we can model, simulate, visualize, and experiment with entire cities to make real-world improvements and improve the cultural epicenters and homes of billions around the world.
This year’s theme for World Cities Day is “Act Local to Go Global”. The United Nations (UN) encourages local cities and stakeholders to meet, share ideas, and challenge themselves to create a more equitable, greener, and sustainable city for their citizens.
In light of World Cities Day, we’re exploring how five amazing stories – from startups who are creating mini-cities that could withstand life on Mars to global leaders who are revolutionizing the way the construction industry works – that showcase where the future of cities is headed.
French company and global leader in sustainable construction, Bouygues, is changing the way the construction industry traditionally works and is turning to digitization. Why? They believe by breaking down ecosystem silos and creating a more project-centric approach to construction, all collaborators can benefit. And they’re doing it all on the 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform.
“We will see benefits in terms of health and safety for our workers, because we will enter design phases with much more detailed information,” said Frédéric Gal, Program Director of Business Transformation of Bouygues Construction. “This will allow us to enhance productivity, build faster and with much higher quality. And we will transform the customer experience for the better by meeting their specific needs in a very productive way, while shortening design and construction times and following up with accurate progress reports.”
Not only is Bouygues Construction becoming increasingly digital, but they’re utilizing the power of virtual twins to drive end-to-end efficiencies across projects and virtually test out purchasing, logistics, and construction, prior to execution. By doing so they can avoid mistakes while on site and cut down on costs in the long run.
“The objective of the virtual twin is to deliver on the promise of construction before construction,” Gal said. “It means we can adjust all the irregularities that we imagine and to have a model that is really constructible and to avoid mistakes when we are on site. Once the design is finished and executed, questions are no longer raised about its integrity.”
At French-American startup Interstellar, founder and director Barbara Belvsi is on a mission to live better on Earth, preserve its biodiversity, and … prepare humanity to settle on other planets? Yep, you read that correctly. Belvsi understands that climate change is a real threat and we are only given a small window to make lasting change.
That’s why Interstellar is working hard to create environmentally controlled, closed-looped systems inspired by aerospace that produce and recycle almost everything, as well as make water, air, and food as renewable as possible, so if needed, humans could live in total autonomy.
They’re creating bio-regenerative stations called Ebios which operate as a mini-city – able to withstand extreme climates, revolutionize food production, and reduce the land and water needed to produce food on Earth by 99%. By using advanced technology, they’ll be creating a very specific environmental condition required for astronauts to grow their own food on Mars or to help preserve biodiversity here on Earth.
In order to support a project of this greatness, they’ve collaborated with Dassault Systèmes to handle the entire design and development process on the 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform. Because they’re also working with teams from NASA, Space X, and Airbus, this platform was chosen in particular due to its ability to support many moving parts.
“Many tools today allow for an innovative approach and support the modern data flow load. But very few integrate all our constraints within a single platform,” said Jim Rhoné, Chief Product Officer at Interstellar Lab. “We are a company at the cutting edge of a lot of disciplines, skills and applications – biology, aerospace, control systems, architecture, mathematics and materials science. We needed a platform that could bring all these areas together. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform does exactly that.”
One of the greatest challenges urban populations are facing right now is a housing shortage. Many traditional construction approaches have failed to understand populations are growing and there is need to find new, innovative ways of designing and building housing. For Chun Qing Li, an award-winning, London-based architect and founder of KREOD, the logical next step is to take architectural design and development to the next level with automation and advanced technology.
However, Li quickly found that many technologies on the market do not offer the power and capabilities he required to bring his vision to life. That’s why, when the chance came to work with Dassault Systèmes, who he had followed closely, he jumped on the opportunity.
“I’ve always wanted to use this tool. I’ve done my research and Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform delivers exactly what the industry is calling for,” said Chun Qing Li, founder of KREOD. “It’s long established as the ultimate tool for the aerospace and transportation industries, and now it offers a great opportunity for us to explore how we can take the AEC industries to the next level and move towards full automation.”
With great success, the team at KREOD utilizes the 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform to design and project manage all aspects of their architectural projects to the smallest detail. They’re using the platform to create bespoke self-build housing, social housing, and turnkey housing developments all across the UK, while bringing down cost barriers and using sustainable building materials and methods. With this approach, the team is confident they can tackle the UK housing crisis in a sustainable way.
Another major problem cities are facing is that there are simply too many buildings with not enough space. This is especially true for data centers which take up to 10,000 and 100,000 square feet of land worldwide. As a result, many people are calling for land to be freed up and used in a more sustainable way and policies like the Swiss Federal Spatial Planning Act (SPA) and Dutch National Spatial Strategy are imposing strict regulations on building zones.
Swiss design and build contractor ECCUS Founder and CEO Andrew Bourget believes that land is a precious resource which is why he’s creating underground resource facilities to open up space above land. Designed for various ground conditions that can be built under existing buildings, the ECO-Caverne™ not only frees up surface land, but is built sustainably with an integrated thermal management system that releases heat energy from the storage unit that can be used to heat the buildings on the surface.
To create the underground resource facility, the team at ECCUS is using the 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform. They chose this platform due to its ability to be scalable as well as provide powerful design, geological modeling, simulation and collaborative capabilities.
“Everyone involved can make markups on drawings and models, and it’s all updated in real time,” said Benoit Cousin, Engineer at ECCUS. “For example, we have a partner specialized in data centers and we’ve worked with them on our designs to adapt them for data centers. We are also working with a company in charge of validating the electrical design. All independent electrical engineers and partners have direct access via the cloud to the documents that are relevant to their work with us.”
How cities feed and house their citizens are a vital aspect of daily life. But when disaster strikes, cities must respond. Such was the case in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world. Early on in the pandemic, China’s Central-South Architectural Design Institute (CSADI) joined forces with Dassault Systèmes with the ambitious goal of creating Leishenshan Hospital, a modular hospital for infectious diseases and COVID-19 patients, just within 14 days.
Not only were they attempting to create a giant facility at lightning speed or “China Speed,” but they had the challenge of avoiding as little cross-contamination both within and outside the hospital as possible. CSADI and Dassault Systèmes used the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s simulation capabilities to simulate virus contamination and diffusion within the hospital’s ventilation system, indoor and outdoor fluids, and other projects. As a result, they could make suggestions for better contamination discharge to protect the medical professionals working within the hospital.
“Dassault Systèmes is committed to helping Chinese enterprises combat COVID-19 with the aid of technology, focusing on restoration and development of enterprises after the pandemic,” said Ying Zhang, Managing Director, Greater China, Dassault Systèmes. “As a company, we have extended our focus from things to life. It is our concern about human life that drives us to make positive contributions to the environment during the pandemic and in future hospitals with CSADI.
Find more customer stories showcasing the latest innovations in architecture, engineering, and construction. Learn about Dassault Systèmes’ industry solutions for Architecture, Engineering & Construction.