The numbers of smart cities and sustainably focused urban developments have been on a steady rise over the last five years. The successes among these developments have shown the great value of overarching themes in the development of such cities. By fixing their sights on a broad goal of improving sustainability or, slightly less expansively, integrating novel technological solutions in cities, the cities are able to bring in a comprehensive array of the different parties, both public and private, into the development, thereby considerably raising the probability of success.

Now the city of Orlando, Florida, a major locus of tourist activity, is now undertaking a forward thinking development project in the Lake Nona development, a community built around wellbeing and healthful living. The area under development, projected to house 25,000 residents in 11,000 homes, seeks the support of an active life-sciences industry, already a strong hold in the area with 13% of the prospective home buyers employed in the industry, to transform the area into a living lab of sorts. An early indication of the possibilities afforded by such an explorative approach is a recently opened show-home built in the area to showcase the various ways in which integrated smart technologies can support healthful lifestyle and improve overall wellbeing. Dubbed WHIT (Wellness, Health, Innovation and Technology) the home stands as an example of the model Lake Nona’s developers hope to bring to the community, encouraging residents to adopt new technologies and services to advance environmentally conscious lifestyles as well as improving the quality of their own lives.

At the heart of the city’s active participation in public-private-partnerships is an ambitious desire to transform the city of Orlando into a thriving engine of economic growth. However, tying this ambiotius economic agenda to a sincere commitment to aspirational, future-focused attitude signals a novel approach to sustainable, community-first development that considers wellbeing a crucial aspect of success.

Read about the Lake Nona project 

Find out more about WHIT 

Learn about the future of the Lake Nona project 

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Reframing City Districts (ReCiDi)

A research project conducted by the Universities of Turku and Tampere which aims to form a new conceptual framework which will help shape the collective identity and common vision necessary to realize the future low-carbon and sustainability targets.

Systemic Architectures for Sustainable Urban Innovation (SASUI)

An action learning and research project conducted by Aalto University and the University of Tampere which aimed to form a better understanding of the architectural requirements for successful innovation projects.