Smart cities are all the rage, and for good reason: There can be considerable upside to designing new cities that are built from the ground up to be highly smart and highly livable from nearly every perspective. Smarter electrical grids, smarter water systems, smarter buildings, smarter transportation, smarter businesses, and much more are among the possibilities that master city planners are incorporating into their urban visions of the future. Even billionaire Bill Gates is getting into the game, with his company recently making an $80 million bet on a new smart city to be built in Arizona.
Of course, most of us are not urban planners. But thanks to the folks at ArcKit, anyone can begin snapping together their unique vision of a smart city by simply cracking open an ArcKit Masterplan model kit. We have long been fans of the line of architectural model kits from this small Ireland-based company, headed up by architect and visionary Damien Murtagh. Suitable for use by budding, would-be building and city designers of all ages as well as the ranks of professional architects, architectural students, builders, and designers, these kits of snap-together plastic components are molded to scale and can be universally assembled into structures and cities of all shapes and sizes.
Whereas the original line of ArcKit model kits—such as the ArcKit 120 and 240—consist of components molded to 1:48 scale to be a perfectly-sized companion to residential architectural blueprints, the new Masterplan, Cityscape, and Tinytown kits are produced in a much higher scale to make laying out miniature city models more practical. These new city planning kits are comprised of modular building sections and other components that can be rapidly snapped and stacked together in infinite architectural mosaics, ranging from low-slung suburban neighborhoods to complex arrays of skyscrapers and transportation systems.
You can’t go wrong selecting one of these smart city-building kits as a gift for the amateur or professional designer on your holiday shopping list. And for students, these kits are particularly well suited to encourage participation in STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.