Sustainable city planning, digital twins, GIS

The Future of Sustainable City Planning: Combining Digital Twins and GIS

The world population is projected to increase from 8 billion in 2022 to 9.7 billion in 2050. At the same time, inefficient use of land and urban sprawl are among the leading causes of housing affordability problems, transportation and infrastructure challenges, and unsustainable use of resources.

Projects conducted in Uppsala (Sweden), Incheon (South Korea), Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (The Netherlands), and Gwinnett County (Georgia, US) showed that using geographic information systems (GIS) and other data sources in combination with digital twins allows city planners to identify and foresee necessary upgrades to services, as well as test various scenarios and plans to meet the city’s efficiency and sustainability goals. 

As real-time virtual representations of a real-world physical system or process, digital twins used for construction purposes allow architects and specialists in this area to develop digital versions of buildings, cities, networks, and even lands. This technology gives them the possibility to simulate and test various construction options, enrich the data with historical information, weather patterns, topography, demographics, etc., and finally identify the best and most sustainable output in terms of architectural layout, materials, and operations.

Besides these advantages, digital twins based on GIS allow for sustainable city planning and iterating while monitoring real-time the impact of infrastructure work. In an interview with WhereNext Magazine, Marc Goldman, director of industry solutions for the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions at Esri, the global market leader in GIS software, location intelligence, and mapping, lists the benefits of GIS-enabled systems for the AEC industry:

“Understanding the context at that great scale is really important for figuring out where your roadways are going to go and where your bridges are going to be impacting potential neighborhoods. And then there’s the more detailed levels, zooming all the way into an individual building, wayfinding on campuses and within buildings themselves. You enter a building at the front, and you want to know how to get to where you’re going. That building has been designed by an architect who hopefully kept in mind the location intelligence, the complexity or the ease of getting from point A to point B, and GIS is great for that.”

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Catalina Sparleanu

Working with top experts to identify how the latest innovations and disruptive technologies will impact businesses, industries, and society. I have an academic background in social science (Ph.D. in Sociology), an MBA degree, and experience in private companies and NGOs.

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