IT playing increasingly important role in planning Santiago development - architect

Friday, January 21, 2011

Software and technology are integral in analyzing data when it comes to city planning in Chile's "Santiago 2041" forum, Pablo Allard, consulting architect for the country's ministry of housing and urbanism (Minvu), said during a conference.

Three instruments in Chile help to form a pillar in the capital city's urban planning, he said:

- The BIP contactless payment card for Santiago's integrated mass transit system, Transantiago, which helps planners see where people are moving throughout the city, where there is high transit, etc. The card will also eventually be used for holders to purchase goods in stores and to access credit with institutions associated with the transit system.

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- The TAG free flow devices that charge tolls for drivers circulating on any of Santiago's five concessioned intercity highways, which can help to identify traffic patterns and aid in road planning. This device is also starting to be used to pay at parking garages.

- Mobile phones, whose penetration rate of more than 100% make for a powerful platform for contacting clients. For example, those applying for government housing subsidies can receive an SMS asking the applicants to go to the nearest post office, where with their ID cards they can receive a notice of the advances of their applications.

The idea of Santiago 2041 is to come up with proposals that respect the environment, facilitate rational use of resources and allow for the insertion of intelligence into each process or service in the city. One challenge is the need for more space for Santiago to grow, as an estimated 250,000 new homes will be needed by 2030, Allard said. Another challenge is the growing number of cars, with an estimated 700,000 extra automobiles being introduced to the city by 2015, bringing the total to an estimated 1.9mn.

The Santiago 2041 forum was set up in July last year by Siemens, IBM, the Chilean-German chamber of commerce Camchal and Chilean water utility Aguas Andinas. The year 2041 will mark Santiago's 500th anniversary of its being founded.

The main goal of the forum is to analyze the different challenges faced by Santiago, introducing innovation and technology to become an eco-friendly city, in which IBM's smarter cities initiative and Siemens' green city index play a direct role.

As a result of the first forum, participating companies decided to set up a website for the interchange of ideas and information, and to foster new initiatives to make the project take life. Use this link for more information.