This paper presents how digital twin city (DTC) development processes can directly advance education, skills development, and engagement experiences. The discussion centres on the development approach for a DTC during Covid-19 within a higher education institution in South Africa. Covid-19 proved unprecedented disruption and adjustment in learning experiences with parallel effects in the workplace. As a result, digitisation and virtualization are now commonplace in many industries. Digitization and virtualization will also continue to remain both a core foundational and desired skill-set for the future of work (World Economic Forum, 2020). Education, skills development, and learning experiences of learners and educators must likewise change. During the DTC development process, many distributed and remote education options were experimented with. These experiments were anchored in data-generation requirements necessary to build a DTC. Many DTC digitization requirements can be performed using low-cost, low-skill, and open data approaches coupled with existing education practices. The findings indicate that digitization practices, methods, and tools must become fundamental in the educator and a learner’s toolkit. This paper argues that DTCs can provide new educational opportunities through digitization practices, help mitigate educational disruptions through core digitization training, and develop shared understanding and application of digitization in multiple fields simultaneously. We argue that when existing educational practices are leveraged towards shared digital outcomes, such as DTCs, the process can meaningfully contribute in facilitating pedagogical change, support to risk mitigation in future pedagogical and practical training disruption, help close technological divides in current and future societies, while bringing new inflections on education practices uncovered along the way.
Recognizing digitization practices in education as a fundamental skill-set is not only necessary for education sites to remain relevant but also ensures that appropriate skill-enabled graduates are produced.
Calayde holds a PhD Environmental Design, Economics & Planning from the USA and Masters degree in Architecture from South Africa. She has worked internationally in architecture, real estate development, Lean construction management, corporate strategy, urban planning and policy development. Calayde has worked in the role of project architect on high-rise projects in South-East Asia, and as Lean facilitator for the world’s largest Passive House (90% energy efficient real estate) residential project in the United States. She is the co-author of Mastering Lean Leadership with global expert Hal Macomber, co-chair of Lean Built Environment Afrika and Director of Regen50 – Urban Strategies. Calayde is currently completing a post-doctoral research project with the University of Pretoria and the Chalmers University of Technology, Chalmers, Sweden, on African Digital Twin Cities. Calayde teaches at various universities in topics of urbanism, built environment innovation, urban strategy, sustainable development and the future state for the African built environment sector.