Almost a century ago Modernism challenged the structure of the city and reshaped its physical space in order to, amongst other things, accommodate new transportation infrastructure and road networks proclaiming the, nowadays much-debated ‘scientificated’ pursuit of efficiency for the city. This transformation has had a great impact on the way humans still design, move in, occupy and experience the city. Today major cities in Europe, such as Paris and London, are considering banning vehicles from their historic centers. In parallel, significant effort is currently underway internationally by designers, architects, and engineers to integrate innovative technologies and sophisticated solutions for energy production, management, and storage, as well as for efficient energy consumption, into the architecture of buildings. In general, this effort seeks for new technologies and design methods (e.g., DesignBuilder with EnergyPlus simulation engine; Rhicoceros3D with Grasshopper plugin and Ecotect, Radiance and EnergyPlus tools) that would enable a holistic approach to the spatial design of Near-Zero Energy buildings, so that their ecological benefits are an added value to the architectural design and a building’s visual, and material, impact on its surrounding space. The paper inquires how the integration of such technological infrastructure and performance-orientated interfaces changes yet again the structure and form of cities, and to what extent it safeguards social rights and enables equal access to common resources. Drawing from preliminary results and initial considerations of ongoing research that involve the construction of four innovative NZE settlements across Europe, in the context of the EU-funded ZERO-PLUS project, this paper discusses the integration of novel infrastructure in communal spaces of these settlements. In doing so, it contributes to the debate about smart communities and their role in the sustainable management of housing developments and settlements that are designed and developed with the concept of smart territories.
|ScienceOpen disciplines:||Sociology, Political science, Political & Social philosophy, Urban studies, Architecture, Communication & Media studies|