Urban Development Simulator: An interactive decision support tool for urban planners enabling citizen´s participation

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The Urban Development Simulator is currently under development within the FP7 EU project urbanAPI (2011-2014). The simulation tool is developed for the city of Ruse in remote northern Bulgaria at the Romanian border as a support for the local urban planners and politicians to evaluate high level planning decisions defined as use cases. The tool is developed as generic simulation framework, thus the framework can be applied for other cities too, to generate tailor-made urban planning support tools, if the necessary geospatial data about future planning scenarios and related statistical data describing the socio-economic state and future expectations are available. The tool enables urban planners to estimate the impact of different urban development scenarios and visualises spatial changes through dynamic GIS maps depicting the results of the simulations. It is based on the analysis of geospatial data and uses an Agent-based modelling approach to simulate the development in the city. While other urban development simulation tools usually model urban growth in the urban fringe, the Urban Development Simulator concentrates on intra-urban development, as the City of Ruse turns out as a shrinking city which is starting to recover since the last years - reorganizing the intra-urban structure. The tool has a complex user interface and a web interfaces to interact with the local citizens. Thus different planning scenarios and their effects can be visualized (also in 3D) via the web interface and the opinion of the local residents can be involved into the planning decisions by voting for selected planning decisions as preference of the citizens. The spatial pattern of the preferences serves as an input for the parameterization of the Agent-based model to simulate the development trends within the different areas of the city. Scenarios can be simulated what would be, if the urban planners would follow the citizens´ preferences. This enables the decision makers to adapt their urban development plans by considering the preferences of the citizens. Effects on e.g. the final energy demand and CO2 emissions for residential buildings are further calculated for the different development scenarios. The model runs as a Java web-start application and is hosted on a server at the AIT with remote access for the Ruse users. For the model development the simulation platform MASGISmo (Multimethod Agent-based (ABM) System dynamics (SD), GIS modelling platform) has been applied, a framework originally developed during several prior projects to combine a bottom up agent-based simulation method (ABM) with a top down - system dynamics (SD) approach. This platform is programmed in Java connected to several external tools as a PostgreSQL (PostGIS) database, Vensim a (SD) tool and uses RepastJ as core ABM tool. For the purpose of the Urban Development Simulator the GIS capability of the platform was enhanced with more powerful GIS features, thus new planning scenarios can directly be introduced within the tool by the urban planners. The paper will concentrate on the description of the structure of the Urban Development Simulator, further more explain the participatory citizen´s integration.
TitelPLAN IT SMART CLEVER SOLUTIONS FOR SMART CITIES; 19. internationale Konferenz zu Stadtplanung und Regionalentwicklung in der Informationsgesellschaft GeoMultimedia 2014
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2014

Research Field

  • Ehemaliges Research Field - Energy


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