BIM Smart City is the urban dimension of Building Information Modeling that promotes the development of increasingly intelligent and sustainable cities. Find out more!
Building Information Modeling is a rapidly evolving digital process that is crossing building boundaries to embrace a much larger scale, with the aim of helping entire cities and communities to face the new challenges of urbanization. Not surprisingly, more and more often we tend to associate the concept of BIM with the idea of a Smart City!
Therefore, this article aims at analyzing the different advantages and the great potential that BIM is capable of offering in the context of smart cities. Moreover, it explains how the adoption of BIM software and BIM collaborative platforms has now become an essential condition for the development of safer, sustainable, more integrated and interactive urban realities.
What is BIM in Smart Cities?
A BIM Smart City represents the urban scale evolution of Building Information Modeling, and is a process that supports the development of smart cities using data and integrated digital technologies.
The concept of a Smart City stems from the need to provide an adequate response to the challenges posed by modern cities and, in particular, refer to:
- overgrowth of the urban population;
- inadequate services and infrastructure;
- poor protection of the health and safety of citizens;
- energy and environmental issues;
- economic instability.
A Smart City can be defined as an urban reality that aims to overcome these challenges, with the aim of improving standards and services in support of the community, and ensuring the constant involvement of citizens for a sustainable use of resources.
However, it must be considered that the design of a smart city is always very complex and articulated because it requires the active participation of numerous subjects and the evaluation of various factors.
For this reason, it becomes important to use advanced design technologies, such as BIM, which can significantly reduce this complexity and ensure a continuous and efficient exchange of information between all stakeholders.
Why BIM is essential in Smart Cities
Although BIM has been introduced to ensure a more efficient design of buildings, over time this methodology has shown to have enormous potential even during the development of larger systems, such as infrastructure networks, urban sectors or entire cities, so much so that, more and more often, we hear about Civil/City/Construction Information Modeling (CIM).
But what is it that makes BIM (or CIM) technology so important in Smart Cities?
The factor that determines the success of the integration between BIM and Smart City, is the ability of BIM to help cities achieve increasingly “smart” goals! A smart city, in fact, is a city that uses information and communication technologies to:
- improve its operational efficiency;
- share information with the public;
- ensure a better quality of services;
- ensure the well-being and safety of citizens;
- ensure optimal use of resources;
- minimise waste;
- limit the environmental impact.
The BIM approach (based on data, collaboration and the constant exchange of information throughout the life cycle of the building) is the most appropriate “tool” to support cities in facing these challenges.
As is the case for individual buildings, the implementation of BIM in the process of designing, building and managing a Smart City helps the professionals involved to make more informed choices, minimising the waste of resources and optimising the time and costs of construction.
Thanks to the advantages offered by BIM, Smart Cities projects are more successful in solving the problems related to:
- the growing urbanization;
- traffic congestion;
- the affordability of housing;
- climate change;
- the ageing of infrastructures;
- the lack of communication and cooperation between the different systems.
But the real opportunity that BIM is able to offer in this sector is given by the potential integration with artificial intelligence systems (using a BIM IoT platform) or territory management (by means of a BIM GIS software), the BIM GIS integration. This could help Smart Cities to create intelligent connections between buildings and infrastructures (such as transport systems, public services, and so on).
What are the advantages of BIM in Smart Cities?
The implementation of BIM in any project (regardless of the scale of application) allows to improve the exchange of information between the interested parties, and analyze the model of the structure before its actual construction, reducing errors and avoiding the loss of information.
Below we will analyze in detail what are the advantages of BIM with particular reference to the design of smart cities.
- Collaboration and cooperation – The project of a Smart City requires the participation of numerous subjects who must necessarily discuss and collaborate to obtain the best results and ensure that the exchange of information takes place without hindrance. Through the use of collaborative platforms, BIM improves communication between the teams involved in the project, and ensures more efficient management and sharing of information.
- Integration between systems – Smart cities are based on the integration of different systems (transport, communications, energy consumption, etc.), both at building level and at urban scale. The use of BIM allows to implement an open and standardized information flow between these systems, which leads to the creation of a fully integrated and interactive infrastructure.
- Project visualization – BIM models of buildings and infrastructures created with BIM Authoring software allow a better visualization of the project, from the design phase to completion. These models are also used to test constructability and ensure that errors, reworks and wastages are minimized.
- Centralization of information – BIM allows industry professionals to manage the entire life cycle of the project in one place, so it can be seen as a sort of centralized platform that allows access to key information regarding any aspect of the infrastructure, and the use of this information for any purpose.
- Citizen Engagement – BIM enables the community to actively engage in the physical transformation of their city. The data collected in the BIM platform, in fact, can be shared between all interested parties, including citizens, who therefore have the opportunity to access the information that is usually held by the subjects directly involved in the design and construction process.
- Environmental sustainability – The ability of BIM to visualize in real time how an entire building or a city ecosystem works, allows those who manage these systems to regulate the consumption of resources and energy, and improve the quality of life of their communities.
If you are part of a team that deals with the design, construction or management of smart cities, consider adopting:
- a municipal asset management software, which will greatly help you to improve communication with other project team members to manage and share real time data related to your project, fully supported by data security protocols;
- a BIM design software, to create information models of buildings and infrastructures to be integrated with the other systems present within your Smart City.