Cities planning their future are increasingly turning to the production of Integrated Urban Models. These are tools that bring together various datasets on different asoects of urban performance, from the behaviour of people to the flows of energy, water and other utilities. The aim is to better predict the future of cities by better understanding how they are currently working.
This is a nascent but rapidly developing field in which knowledge is emerging and evolving at a pace. Given the complexity of cities it is a good idea to involve many specialists in different subjects, led by an Urban Modelling Advisory Panel (UrbanMAP). I suggest the UrbanMAP, like any good team, is made up of 11 people, comprising:
1. a transport technologist with expertise in walk/bike as well as road/transit
2. an infrastructure engineer with utilities capacity expertise
3. a real estate economist with expertise in locational analytics/spatial economics (housing & jobs)
4. an environmental planning specialist with expertise in the analysis of on-land, on-water and in-air phenomena
5. a construction expert
6. a health expert
7. an anthropologist with expertise in the technological analysis of human behaviour and cultural identity
8. an architect/urban planner/designer with expertise in the creative use of technology
9. a social media technologist with expertise in semantic analysis of online content
10. a data integration specialist with expertise in statistical/correlational analysis and predictive analytics
11. a visualisation specialist with expertise in both 2D and 3D representation.
The group should meet regularly, evolving the vision of the model and the brief for its creation by other consultants.
It should be chaired – or captained – like any good team, by a creative all-rounder: the architect at No.8, whose role is to resolve complexity through elegant and resource-efficient means.
Space Syntax has created an Integrated Urban Model structure to take clients and stakeholders on the “data journey”. We engage stakeholders throughout the process of gathering, visualising and analysing data feeds, then forming ideas and measuring the impact of these. Our experience is that people then develop greater confidence in, and ownership of, the actions that ultimately follow.
Darwin City Centre Masterplan