Urban Digital twins powered by Big Data analytics and Artificial Intelligence algorithms for alternative scenario modelling is a ground-breaking step to better tackle the complexity and interrelated nature of urban systems. This visual platform technology completely changes the way decisions are made and actions are evaluated in the urban planning domain. Modelling alternative scenarios allows people to measure and compare relative benefits and impacts in advance, and to make choices accordingly, thus enhancing efficiency in the use of public resources, optimising work processes and reducing economic costs. Two functionalities are key:
Functionality 1: Short-term decision-making support for city management (DSS) Universal accessibility is a key issue to ensure older people´s active and healthy living. It is important to guarantee day-to-day accessibility to services and amenities that older people use most frequently, such as health care centres, cultural and social equipment, public spaces, etc. URBANAGE DSS will facilitate the prior evaluation of the impact of different events and unexpected situations in the older population of an area, and to propose alternatives. Moreover, it will provide information and alternative routes and services to older people based on analysis of the physical urban conditions (topography, density, climate), services use and their usual routes, in the event of: works, breakdowns, special events, special weather conditions, and so on.
Functionality 2: Long-term decision-making support for city planning (PSS) Planning for age-friendly cities will benefit from the creation of an age-friendliness index for neighbourhoods which, through a combination of different data sources analysis, will assess, with an integral approach, the readiness of an urban area to ensure an active and healthy living for an older population. Based on this index, and with inputs from historical data (also from the projects' Functionality 1) URBANAGE Planning Support System will allow for the creation and evaluation of different scenarios and alternatives for making long-term planning decisions geared at improving an area´s age-friendliness index.
The URBANAGE Digital Twin is an extensible platform that allows modelling the city and its processes through a virtual replica. The implementation of the Digital Twin will be done by developing components to facilitate data modelling and mapping, geospatial analysis and data retrieval through web services (API and advanced visualization services). The modelling of the city elements will be achieved through the City Information Model (CIM) that represents the four layers that allow connecting the different elements which define the city and its processes. These four layers are citizen, urban planning, physical infrastructure and technical infrastructure.
The technical infrastructure layer comprises the public service networks that contribute to the provisioning of the city, such as energy, water or telecommunications, among others; and city management elements, such as elevators or ramps, lighting and transportation network. The physical infrastructure layer comprises the built elements of the city including buildings, roads, public space, bridges, or green areas that represent the static physical structures of the city. Urban Planning layer includes the information and services that can improve urban planning. Citizen are providers and customers of data and services.
More info on the URBANAGE technology approach can be found here.