Reimagining Urban Planning with 3DEXPERIENCity: New urban morphologies for connected work- and lifestyles

By Akio
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Rocker 9-22-2015 7-52-28 PMBy: Ingeborg Rocker, PhD, Vice President of 3DEXPERIENCity | Geosphere and member of Dassault Systèmes’ Corporate Strategy Team. Rocker is responsible for developing a vision and strategy for modeling and simulating our planet with a particular focus on urban settlements.


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3DEXPERIENCity, Wind Simulation for Singapore City, Singapore.

3DEXPERIENCity, Wind Simulation for Singapore City, Singapore.

Traditional models of urbanism are challenged today by the growing and increasingly diversified population in cities. Urban planners will find they need a new planning model that takes into consideration the needs of hyper-dense cities. They will need to re-think how we imagine, plan, design, analyze, simulate, realize and manage cities in order to better plan for the future. New urban planning tools also are needed to foster better communication among governments, business and citizens.

One solution with the potential to transform urban planning is the 3DEXPERIENCE city map. By creating a data-rich virtual model of the city in all its complexity, and linking it back to actual existing conditions in real-time, we can understand through simulations the potential effects of various systemic changes before implementing them.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #Urbanplanners need a new planning model to consider the needs of hyper-dense #cities

Taking a Holistic Approach to City Planning

The key to this holistic digital map of the processes of life and work in the city is that it is continuously updated. Everyone who has access rights to the model—from city planners to business interests and even citizens—sees the most current data, creating a real-time shared point of reference. Through this data, we can understand the entire lifecycle of the city. You will know which lot is empty, which lot is occupied. You will know which segment of the population lives where. You will see how certain changes might decrease pollution or improve traffic flow. This model can capture everything we possibly could know about a city and gives all players access to this collaborative platform.

Most traditional smart city approaches have focused on technology to address urban challenges by collecting massive amounts of sensor data. But this rather technocratic approach—focused on projects narrow in scope and often siloed in individual agencies and research bodies—left cities and citizens alike with vast amounts of data related to very narrow fields of inquiry. A holistic view of the city’s system of systems, the interrelation between people and city, remained elusive.

What has been lacking in these smart city approaches is the intelligence necessary to capture the city and its processes as a whole and to capture and integrate this knowledge into a holistic, real-time virtual model of the city that dynamically updates. A holistic approach is a key aspect of Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCity, as is the dynamic data model, which enables real-time collaboration and communication.

Using Dynamic Models to Recreate Cities

Think of a city with many players working together: urban planners, urban designers, engineers, architects, landscape architects, developers and many more. Imagine building an extension of a city. One that does not consume more energy than it creates. One with a minimum carbon footprint. One that is hyper dense and yet offers great life-work experiences to all its inhabitants. Different collaborators involved in the planning process of this city interactively explore various design various, and run analytics and simulations to find a design solution with the maximum spatial quality and functional operability.

The dynamic data model keeps track of each version, checks continually for incongruences as different people optimize the city design, and gives warning if the design version does not comply with existing building codes. Once all parties agree on a design version, it will be finalized and its realization is developed, analyzed, simulated and optimized in the virtual model. Every step of the construction process can be explored virtually before it actually will take place in reality. Once the city extension is built, the dynamic model can serve to manage the city. Essentially, the entire lifecycle of a city can be captured this way.

It is here that a 3DEXPERIENCity dynamic data model becomes critical in coordinating the imagination, planning, design, analysis, simulation, realization and management of the city—involving city officials, businesses and citizens alike.

The Interactive New Model for Urban Planning

The 3DEXPERIENCity is the virtual double of the real existing city, capturing changes as they occur over time. The continuous feedback between the virtual dynamic city model and the real city ensures that both represent each other. It maps the entire city lifecycle, exceeding by far the smart city approach, which typically focuses on one topic at a time.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #3DEXPERIENCity maps the city lifecycle, exceeding a typical smart city approach which focuses on one topic

Dassault Systèmes is currently developing an advanced 3DEXPERIENCity project called Virtual Singapore. Singapore is no larger than 278 square miles, and consists of a main island and 62 islets. Land is scarce in this densely urbanized environment. Because Singapore is running out of space for expansion, lacks natural resources, and is facing both a tremendous population growth and change in demography (aging population and multicultural diversity), the country launched a Smart Nation program in late 2014.

Within the framework of this initiative, Dassault Systèmes and Singapore work closely together on Virtual Singapore. It’s an extensive effort to collect data of the city-state’s daily activities and to reflect them in a 3DEXPERIENCity that actively involves city agencies, businesses and citizens alike. Virtual Singapore is the virtual double of real Singapore in the sense that the project’s online platform gives insight into the country’s real-time functioning, and the government shares data with the private sector and the public. The program is designed to improve government services through technology, better connect its citizens, and encourage private-sector innovations.

The 3DEXPERIENCity for Singapore also enables the city to envision and plan future city extensions and densifications in a significant way. The centerpiece of Singapore’s effort is a dynamic data model that will store building’s exact dimensions, window placement, types of construction materials, etc. Virtual Singapore’s options for direct application and experiences seem unlimited.

With the city project, Dassault Systèmes leverages all of its diverse capabilities, including authoring, analytics and simulation capabilities. City planning based on a dynamic data model will be much more sophisticated than ever before.

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Virtual Singapore and the Economy of the Digital Twin

By Akio
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Rocker 9-22-2015 7-52-28 PM

Author: Ingeborg Rocker

As the Internet of Things enables new levels of interconnectivity, a digital twin city is helping Singapore plan for a sustainable future.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “#IoT = new level of interconnectivity; digital twin city helps @govSingapore plan for #sustainability”

3D computer models of buildings and cities are familiar to many, but Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCity takes the concept further.

It continuously generates the city as a dynamic, multidimensional data model that integrates information such as population density, traffic density, weather, energy supply and recycling volumes in real time.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “#3DEXPERIENCity continuously generates
a city as a dynamic, multidimensional, real-time data model”

Virtual Singapore screenshot1

The process creates a digital twin of the city which attempts to capture the complex spatial and temporal implications of life and work to support planners as they seek to optimise urban sustainability.

The 3DEXPERIENCity project ‘Virtual Singapore’ is a vision jointly realised with the National Research Foundation Singapore, and is part of the Government’s Smart Nation Singapore initiative. This will be the world’s first digital twin of an existing city state and will provide Singaporeans with an effective way to engage in the digital economy. It will be both a collaboration platform for city departments and businesses, and a communication platform for the city and its citizens.

The first phase of the project – the 3DEXPERIENCity platform – is expected to be completed by 2018 and will serve as the launch pad for further solutions. The dynamic 3DEXPERIENCity model is already enabling data analytics and simulations to test and validate envisioned concepts that will enable the quality of Singapore’s living environment to be maintained as its population continues to grow.

Overview 2

The model is based on sources including authorised data from different state departments. This provides demographic, geographic, topology, climate, and mobility data, historic and real-time, so stakeholders can explore the effects of existing and future urbanization in the digital realm. It places no limits on users, enabling third-party applications to be launched alongside its visualisation, authoring, simulation and data analytic search environments. Solutions can be developed to optimise logistics, state and city management and other realms such as environmental emergency management, infrastructure planning and protection, and local city/state services.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is ushering in a new level of interconnectivity, with data playing a significant role. People, their activities, smart machines and mobile devices generate data, but in order to enable the experiences and insights that can result in sustainable solutions for the future, the data must be analysed and made accessible. 3DEXPERIENCity gathers IoT data in a way that enables it to be analysed and visualised so that people can envision, create, test and simulate possibilities for the future, before they are realised.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “#IoT data must be analyzed & visualized
so people can simulate possibilities for the future”

In addition, the IoT is creating a new relationship between the real and the virtual, as embedded microchips enable the characteristics and behaviour of devices to be reprogrammed at will. This will result in a fundamental shift as new machine-to-machine, machine-to-human and human-to-human relationships necessitate new business models that are linked to any object as a serviceable and potentially service-receiving entity.

We acknowledge this paradigm shift, harnessing data from objects, people and processes not only to provide new business models through experiences such as the virtual twin which integrate the physical and virtual realms, but also to harmonise product, life and nature.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Harness #data from objects & processes
to integrate physical & virtual realms, harmonize life & nature”

All of our current research follows the premise of rethinking the traditional status quo. For example, research in the IoT-Car-City area envisions a link between the simulation and optimisation of vehicle and city systems. In addition, the Industry Future 4.0 Experience uses the digital twin concept to enable the development of global industry networks consisting of intelligent factories where the physical world is connected with cyber-physical systems. This solution geo-locates the assets and processes of global operating businesses in real time in the 3DEXPERIENCity/Geosphere application, enabling higher adaptability and efficiency in resource, time and energy usage across production plants, and supplier networks.

As one of the world’s most advanced city in terms of technology use for planning and adjustment to future changes, the Singapore Government’s Smart Nation Singapore vision correlates with Dassault Systèmes’ goals.

“Cities are the most complex products that humans make,” says Bernard Charlès, President and CEO of Dassault Systèmes. “Through an efficient and precise prognosis of urban and architectural planning, and through the use of modern tools and methods, the planning of national resources can be better anticipated, services more efficiently offered and a sustainable lifestyle supported.” 

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Cities are the most complex
products that humans make” -@BernardCharles

Virtual Singapore screenshot3


Author: Ingeborg Rocker, PhD, Vice President of 3DEXPERIENCity | Geosphere and member of Dassault Systèmes’ Corporate Strategy Team. Rocker is responsible for developing a vision and strategy for modeling and simulating our planet with a particular focus on urban settlements.


Related Resources

Virtual Singapore: A Platform to Solve Emerging and Complex Challenges

Civil Design for Fabrication

AEC Industry Solutions from Dassault Systèmes

The Cities of our Future

By Alyssa
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Future city

It’s rush hour in the city. People make their way home after a hard day’s work. Driverless cars pass by as cyclists stream along purpose-built lanes, safe from motorized traffic and unpredictable pedestrians.

As the city unwinds into the evening, indoor sensors adjust the ambient temperature and turn lights on; televisions, radios and even baths are operated with a gesture from an armchair.

Outside, sensors monitor atmospheric irritants, ready to alert those at risk should dangerous levels be reached. A computer planning the city’s waste collection receives data about foul-smelling and full bins. Traffic systems constantly check and adjust, ensuring jams and accidents are a thing of the past. Unbeknown to its citizens, every function of the city is silently optimized to make life simple and efficient.

City jungle

This is a common vision imagined for smart cities of the future: efficient, responsive hubs consisting of vast, interconnected technological systems. But can and should technology alone have the power to tackle one the most acute challenges of our time: how a soaring population can live sustainably on Earth.

By 2050, the World Health Organization predicts that 70% of the population, or 6.4 billion people, will be urbanites. Many of these will live in cities that are decades or centuries old, built for vastly smaller populations with very different needs. As these new metropolises gestate and grow, they risk becoming sprawling, inefficient sinks, wasting precious resources such as land, water and energy, and becoming harder to manage logistically.

Now a diverse range of disciplines are stepping up to help solve these challenges, aided by a suite of digital tools that allow scientists and city planners, for example, to see and explore the futures we are creating and their effects on their inhabitants and the planet as a whole.

Ingeborg Rocker is one of those leading this charge.  As the head of the GEOVIA 3DEXPERIENCity project at Dassault Systèmes, which aims to create holistic, virtual models of cities, Rocker believes that to build for the future we need to take a new approach to designing our cities.

small planet

Traditional planning is built on the idea that efficiency is achieved by standardizing every element. Make every road, streetlight, junction and building the same and you drive down costs and make cities easier and quicker to build, expand and repair.   But, much like medicine has come round to the idea that no two humans are alike and therefore need personalized care, Rocker believes that no two cities can be considered the same. Instead, she says that cities need to be viewed and planned as living entities, where every element and every citizen is part of a whole. Changes – no matter how small – cannot be made without examining their impact on the entire organism and its environment.

Studies of the interaction between people and systems have revealed patterns that are anything but standard,” says Rocker, who is also an associate professor of architecture at Harvard University. “If we analyze the patterns and interactions between people and systems – such as transport and waste management – we can develop cities that are still robust while also being highly efficient and sustainable – but in new terms.”

This approach is at the cutting edge of architecture and could lead to a reimagining of the discipline, focused not just on the resulting structure but also the impact a building will have on the planet’s resources. New technology like that in the 3DEXPERIENCity project allow urban planners to digitally study and test ideas, empowering them to constantly consider the impact urbanization has not just within the invisible boundaries of their city, but also on the entire planet and its resources.

“Even the most remote regions of the Earth are affected by urban lifestyles. In the name of sustainability, we must seek new ways to limit the impact urban growth has on our entire geosphere,” says Rocker.

green wall

Discover more about new ways we can develop our cities!  The video below not only gives a glimpse into new technology that city planners can leverage, but tells an interesting story about a project MIT’s SENSEable City Lab ran to track the path and impact of trash across the US.

YouTube Preview Image

You can also read more about in an article that also looks at ideas like Hollywood’s role in envisioning the future.

NOTE: The video and article were first published as an Advertisement Feature on bbc.com running from 27th June 2014 to 5th September 2014, and was created by the BBC Advertising Commercial Production team in partnership with Dassault Systèmes.



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