How Does CAD Technology Impact Urban Societies?
Urban planning, and the ability to cope with urban problems rely on ICT (Information and Communication Technology). Without CAD technology, ICT will be non-functional. For example, CAD software is utilized for many building projects under the BIM (Building Information Modeling) protocols and guidelines. CAD software makes it possible to keep track of energy usage, water consumption, and of waste generation and disposal. CAD software makes it possible to collect and present data in forms which are suitable for urban planning, and for solving urban problems.
According to published theories, ICT impacts urban planning in one major way which is defined as Technological Determinism. According to Technological determinism, social organizations and culture are shaped by ICT or by CAD-related technologies with regard to production, communications, and consumption. It is not unusual to see many cultures in the “third world” category which have been catapulted into modern culture which depends on cell phones, PCs, TVs, and the internet.
Once technological determinism takes hold on a culture, appetites develop very quickly for technologies which define modern culture. Consequently, urban planners have to deal with the problem of population shifts from rural to urban areas.
This article examines the extent to which CAD technology has impacted urban societies by changing them from the local to an urban society, and consequently into a global community. In particular:
- CAD technology influences urban societies with regard to the spatial reach between daily home and work activities, contacts, and relationships.
- CAD technology influences urban societies with regard to communication, cultural changes, political perceptions, social conditioning, and the appetites of the consumer. Consequently, there is a trend to transition urban societies into a global community.
- CAD technology influences urban societies with regard to personal relationships, religious practices, physical and virtual urban structures, and travel. It may not be an exaggeration to suggest that societal and personal relationships are trending toward robotically influenced relationships, rather than personal relationships.
Are There Significant Shifts From Rural To Urban Societies?
Before the 2nd world war, only about 15% of the world population lived in cities. The United Nations projected fairly accurately that 50% of the world population would live in urban areas by 2008, and that 86% of the developed world community will be urbanized by 2050. The projected trend is quite clear. Technological determinism, which relies on CAD technology, has been transitioning rural culture into urban culture. Once rural societies have tasted the benefits provided by cell phones, color TVs, multimedia equipment, rapid transportation, computer technology and the internet, lifestyles change dramatically, and human appetites of people in rural communities mirror those of people in urbanized communities.
Because of the shift from rural to urban communities, major cities in Asia have populations in the neighborhood of 40 million people. Outside Asia, major cities have populations in the neighborhood of 20 million people.
Why Are Urban Societies Absorbing Rural Communities?
The next step after local communities are absorbed by urbanized societies is globalization, and CAD technology plays a significant role in making it happen. Before addressing globalization, it may be useful to identify the reasons why rural communities are either becoming urbanized, or are migrating into urbanized societies. Urbanization provides these benefits:
- Reduction in time and expense for transportation,
- Having better access to industrial goods and medical care,
- Better opportunities for education, jobs, and housing,
- Improved proximity, diversity, business opportunities, access to modern technology, and wealth accumulation.
However, urbanization also provides these disadvantages:
- Alienation, ethnical strife and racism or marginalization,
- Increased crime rates,
- Industrial pollution and waste generation,
- Increased cost of living.
It is debatable whether the quality of life is better in an urbanized community compared with that in a rural community. Many rich people prefer to live in suburbs (somewhat similar to the environment of a rural community). Doing so enables them to have access to the benefits of the urbanized community, while isolating them from the “hustle and bustle” and increased crime rates of urbanized communities.
Are CAD Technologies Helping Urbanized Societies Merge Into A Global Community?
Within the past two decades, the nations of the world have been quietly but steadily merging into a global community. Some of the drivers which are moving the world system toward globalization include
- Governments are facilitating free movement of goods and services and of investment capital and labor across national borders. The formation of the European Union is a good example of how globalization benefits the nations.
- There has been dramatic fall in transportation costs. Both shipping and air transportation costs have fallen dramatically. These reductions in transportation costs facilitate trade between the nations, as evidenced by many FTAs (Free Trade Agreements).
- Many nations are willing to lower trade barriers.
It is outside the scope of this article to fully explain all the factors which are moving the world toward globalization. However, the roles that CAD technology is playing to make globalization possible are not difficult to discern. Drivers toward globalization which are CAD related, include:
- Reduction in communication costs, primarily due to satellite technology and the internet. Telephone costs have fallen dramatically. Methods for communicating such as text messaging, emails, Skype, and other methods for transmitting information over the internet have opened the doors for virtually free and unlimited communication across the globe.
- Worldwide news can now be transmitted almost instantaneously across the globe because of satellite technology. PCs and mobile phones which are equipped with cameras make it possible to capture and to transmit local news which can go viral within minutes, once the news gets on the internet or is picked up by major news networks.
- Skilled surgeons can perform surgical procedures remotely because of robotic surgical devices.
- 3D printing makes it possible to transmit product designs electronically and to have products printed all over the world.
The impact of CAD technology on urban societies and globalization is for real, and the trend is likely to accelerate. You can also be part of this expanding global revolution.