Digital and Smart Technology

Digital technology has become more and more integrated into our lives, influencing our lifestyle choices, work patterns and leisure habits. The ‘digital and smart technology’ theme within this guide was developed in recognition of this fact, and to account for and validate the use of space and delivery of services in light of relevant technological advances.

The introduction of smart technology (and the opportunity to localise certain examples thereof) represents an enhanced opportunity for designs that are both commercially viable and sustainable in the long-term. The aim is to create places that have the ability to evolve and progress over generations. Smart technologies with potential for application in the development of sustainable dwellings and communities include:

  • Superfast or fibre-optic broadband internet services
  • District heating systems
  • Balancing energy loads between communities
  • Proactive maintenance
  • Smart tags
  • Storing utilities
  • 5G connectivity

These advances are already beginning to suggest changes to building design and work and community spaces (including shared-use spaces). Community hubs are forecast to become focal points within neighbourhoods, places with ample room for adaptation as community needs change. A mixed-use space offering public amenity access as well as business use can occupy a smaller footprint while providing a greater quality of service. Such flexible spaces are ideal for businesses that do not require a full-time base, allowing them to arrive at a multi-use space, connect, do business and relocate as required.

Digital technology is also beginning to have an impact on the logistics of deliveries and shopping, while autonomous vehicles are predicted to be at the forefront of future developments in transport. The removal or reduction of private car ownership could reduce the need for parking spaces and ease road congestion – or even impact development more negatively, by expanding the footprint of the built environment.  

The digital and smart technology theme is addressed within the following sections of the guide:


Page updated: 7/02/2018


Make the most of the Essex Design Guide, register today

As well as ensuring you are always in the know about future changes and updates to the Essex Design Guide, registering with us will enable to you to add and manage bookmarks throughout the site, so your most-used areas of the guide are always easy to find.

Register for updates

© 2018 Copyright Essex County Council. All rights reserved.