Developing Metadata and Methodologies to Support Assessment of the Social Value of Buildings and Communities in Future Smart Cities
The cost of delivering social programmes (health, education, national security etc.) in all OECD countries is rising to an unsustainable level. The Internet of Things and increased connectivity are increasingly being seen by public and private sector organisations as a way of reducing costs and improving service provision. As ICT progresses from existing in standalone devices to all connected devices (IoT) it will provide new opportunities to improve and integrate service provision. However, increasingly the physical existence of humans and their physical environments will become a key part of smart systems and the services they provide. Before this can happen, there is first a need to better understand how physical things can be codified thereby allowing them to be included into a system. Secondly, there is a need to integrate and harmonise all things (appliances, devices, fixtures/fittings, building fabric/components, community services etc.). Thirdly, the social outcomes of that integration need to be understood, and this calls for a new nomenclature, a ‘social language’. This research seeks to address these three challenges by discussing the prioritisation of the needs of an individual and characterising all things in terms of the service they provide. It then proposes how these things might be ‘connected’ to form a mesh network that encompasses both current physical, and future virtual, service-delivery mechanisms. The findings indicate that there is potential to codify things by their services in a meaningful way. It is also clear that this approach would offer much greater analysis of service delivery and be able to optimise that delivery in a more integrated and connected world. To develop the work further requires considerable programming capability and capacity. However, while this research has involved largely theoretical scenarios, it has also developed several online ‘tools’ driven by the need to provide proof-of-concept models to support research as well as potentially generate income. The objective to develop a ‘social language’ was acknowledged from the start as being extremely complex, in essence, trying to codify and systemise individual and community needs—even culture itself. However, it is a starting point for others to fulfil its objective in a practical way. The prize is to truly understand the social value of buildings and things in a smarter future and thereby improve wellbeing and social equity for all.
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