Author: Amos Avidan

Smart cities as innovation hubs

Global megatrends require a step-change in the way we design, construct and operate structures and systems that will benefit society for the long term. Growing urbanization and extreme weather patterns are making cities more vulnerable to loss of electricity and energy infrastructure. Many of the world’s largest urban areas are becoming ‘mega cities’ with populations of more than 5 million people. 

The potential scale of disruption caused by energy system failures is compounded by the growing scale of the energy systems required to support these new mega cities. With the growth of mega cities and urbanization, city planners are well placed to consider how to future proof urban energy systems.

Future-proofing systems requires a new and smarter approach to protecting the overall city and its systems. Information is currency in the modern, smart city—city planners are increasingly using advanced computer modeling to be able to rapidly analyze complex urban systems, capture information, and accelerate decision-making.

New technologies offer part of the solution e.g. predictive tools to anticipate weather patterns, advanced metering to pinpoint outages in real time, etc. Quality of infrastructure is also increasingly important—needs to be durable for multiple decades.

The Revolution of Data-centric Execution

A revolution is underway, he industry is moving toward data-centric execution, what Bechtel calls, "virtual project delivery," 

We use information in all phases of our process. Starting with geographic information systems to create accurate maps and details about the sites and communities where we perform work and the impact we will have on them. 

Through sophisticated three-dimensional models, we get information from our suppliers, and our engineers design in the three-dimensional world. Then we translate this information to construction., which is undergoing a dramatic change. You see the use of mobility, for example. People are walking around with the ability to picture what the plant would look like on an iPad or an iPhone. Or you'll see if the use of personal mobility, like Google Glass, for example, on our projects. 

This impacts our craft workers, making them work in a safer manner and having information at their fingertips when they need it. And then, the last part is we can transfer all of this information to our customers, which can then make use of this information when they run their plant in a sustainable way for decades to come.

Smart Citites Guide

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Download the guide for mobile devices and Macs (eReader required. Optimized for iPad.


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The Build100 blog brings together Bechtel and industry experts to share insights and innovations around global sustainability issues that will have an impact over the next 100 years.


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