The promises and realities of digital innovation have come to suffuse everything from city regions to astronomy, government to finance, art to medicine, politics to warfare, and from genetics to reality itself. Digital systems augmenting physical space, buildings, and communities occupy a special place in the evolutionary discourse about advanced technology. The two Intelligent Environments books edited by Peter Droege span a quarter of a century across this genre. The second volume, Intelligent Environments: Advanced Systems for a Healthy Planet, asks: how does civilization approach thinking systems, intelligent spatial models, design methods, and support structures designed for sustainability, in ways that could counteract challenges to terrestrial habitability?
This book examines a range of baseline and benchmark practices but also unusual and even sublime endeavors across regions, currencies, infrastructure, architecture, transactive electricity, geodesign, net-positive planning, remote work, integrated transport, and artificial intelligence in understanding the most immediate spatial setting: the human body. The result of this quest is both highly informative and useful, but also critical. It opens windows on what must fast become a central and overarching existential focus in the face of anthropogenic planetary heating and other threats—and raises concomitant questions about direction, scope, and speed of that change.