Design technology for children in the digital age

Design technology for children in the digital age

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Soho, 14, studies the connectivity of the site before putting his own design into the urban context of Queen’s Road West.
Photo: My ArchiSchool

Most young people have ideas of becoming a leading figure in some field in the next 20 years, but they first have to figure out what kind of skills and training they will need to achieve that goal.   

Problems to solve 

There will, though, be plenty of opportunities to work on large-scale problems. That means individuals who are smart, hard-working, adaptable, and good team players will certainly have the chance to stand out.   

Just think about some of the major challenges we hear about from week to week. For instance, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, has sunk around 2.5m in the last 10 years, and that has put many homes and businesses at risk. More generally, sea levels keep rising, putting other coastal communities in danger around the world. And the problem of plastic waste polluting the oceans is threatening many species of marine life.  

A virtual island created on Dassault Systemes’ '3DExperience Platform' with real-time data for collaboration, served as a teaching aid for students to visualise, build and compare different city layouts.
Photo: My ArchiSchool

Anyone who can help to solve issues like these is sure to become a leading figure in the next two decades. But everyone can make some kind of contribution, no matter how old or young they are.    

An important starting point, though, is to get more people thinking about how to improve their own cities with the latest design technology. 

Life skills taught by professional architect and landscape designers

Design technology an engine for development
In many ways, we can think of this as a tool which has already shaped and sometimes revolutionised human history.  

It has helped our race go from campfires to electricity, from natural waterholes to indoor plumbing systems, from wooden carts to the newest high-powered hybrid vehicles. 

A lot of talented youngsters are looking for different ways to express themselves.
Photo: My ArchiSchool

These developments – and many more - have helped people to live progressively better lives over the centuries and transformed small villages into the cities of today.

However, in the next 20 years there will be all kinds of new challenges, and it is up to the current generation to find the solutions. 

Some say the most obvious problem is getting people to realise that doing nothing or just hoping for the best is no longer a viable option. 

Also, people can’t devote all their energy to planning, analysis and research. Whether it is a matter of local, national or international concern, ideas must be converted into action and design technology must be put to good use.

For example, Singapore’s Housing Department Board has come up with a well-planned “virtual” model of the city, the twin of its Building Information Model (BIM). It contains all kinds of useful data about the population, weather conditions, transport and infrastructure, buildings and facilities, green areas and open spaces. As a result, it will make future urban planning easier and more efficient. 

A blueprint for our city

It seems obvious that we should have a similar model of “Virtual Hong Kong”. However, it is taking time to consolidate all the necessary data. At one point it was mentioned that the Transport Department together with the Highways Department had started to collect data samples from “smart light poles”. But we also have to find meaningful applications for big data if we want to see the city develop.  

Young people can take the first step by learning about design technology and understanding how things work in the world around them. They can then start thinking about ways to design a better city and, let’s hope, begin to put their ideas and plans into action for the benefit of everyone in the coming digital era.

Edited by John Cremer


My ArchiSchool is an education institute that introduces the skills and knowledge needed to explore a career in architecture. For class enrollment or educational activities/ exhibitions, please contact Cathy Ng at info@myarchischool.org or (+852) 9613 1137.

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