Computational urban design prototyping: Interactive planning synthesis methods-a case study in Cape Town

Yufan Miao, Reinhard König, Katja Knecht, Kateryna Konieva, Peter Bus, Mei-Chih Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is motivated by the fact that in Cape Town, South Africa, approximately 7.5 million people live in informal settlements and focuses on potential upgrading strategies for such sites. To this end, we developed a computational method for rapid urban design prototyping. The corresponding planning tool generates urban layouts including street network, blocks, parcels and buildings based on an urban designer´s specific requirements. It can be used to scale and replicate a developed urban planning concept to fit different sites. To facilitate the layout generation process computationally, we developed a new data structure to represent street networks, land parcellation, and the relationship between the two. We also introduced a nested parcellation strategy to reduce the number of irregular shapes generated due to algorithmic limitations. Network analysis methods are applied to control the distribution of buildings in the communities so that preferred neighborhood relationships can be considered in the design process. Finally, we demonstrate how to compare designs based on various urban analysis measures and discuss the limitations that arise when we apply our method in practice, especially when dealing with more complex urban design scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Computing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Research Field

  • Former Research Field - Energy


  • Procedural modeling
  • spatial synthesis
  • generative design
  • urban planning


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