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Emerging Technologies in Urban Planning



There are lots of discussions on how tech is impacting, both positively and negatively, the lives in cities. But not many on how tech is impacting urban planning/design itself. SketchUp and ArcGIS have been favorite tools but softwares like location monitoring via smartphones, AI and other similar products raise questions around surveillance etc.


This post is on some interesting softwares and concepts out there which may impact how urban planning is approached. You may be an advocate of tech or may be a bit skeptical but these new tech driven urban planning concepts are worth taking a look.



Toronto waterfront


1. Side walks Lab: While this is not a software but a project (Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront), being part of Alphabet Inc. (Google's parent company) indicates that this will be heavily influenced by technology. We are eager to see some novel ideas coming out of this. At least one thing is fresh: high tech mobility is not only about flying cars, hyperloop and electric cars but also sidewalks.



2. Topos With the aim of improving understanding of urban spaces and urban culture, topos compares neighbourhood between two cities. I felt this was interesting way to look at a city if you have been assigned to a new project. Also, its blogs have some pretty cool artificial intelligence algorithms and data visualisation.

(img. isochrone map - source wikipedia)



3. City Dash (by LOTaDATA): This tool seems to be useful for a wide variety of applications from safety, law-enforcement, recreation, planning etc. etc. With their website mentioning a billion devices, that's really a 'lot a data'. But what will be crucial to see is what insights come out of that and how it helps in decision making.



4. Replica: Coming out of Side Walks Labs itself, Replica is more focussed on transportation (origin-destination data, mode of transport etc.) They also create a synthetic data and run it inside simulations.


Their source of data seems to be smartphones. But may be GPS devices on vehicles could also help.


5. Chaos Architects: Coming out of Finland, this product looks more mature than others with case studies and implementations discussed on the website. Offering is similar - using data, algorithms and artificial intelligence for urban planning. However, how this stands out is the customer cases on their website. It shows some signs of adoption of technology(predominantly data). Also, ongoing implementations are to be reported in coming months (as put of their website)




That's all for now. The goal of this post is to help you imagine possibilities when such technologies are being developed. Also, raising the right questions so that regulations, where necessary, can be discussed in public in domain.


Cheers!


P.S. - these are some initiatives which we found interesting and by no means an endorsement.


img- land use using ASTER by JPL

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