Virtual cities can help solve urbanization challenges

Virtual cities can help city officials and urban planners predict patterns and forecast the future. These insights can then be used to manage real world data, processes and people to create efficient and sustainable cities.

The urban population is set to rise to an estimated 66 per cent of the world’s population by 2050. The challenge of urbanization is further compounded by globalization, the Internet of Things, climate change, and a growing demand for high-tech solutions, putting city officials and urban planners under immense pressure to start looking at the barriers to successful urbanization today.

One way to overcome this challenge is to build a virtual city or digital twin.

“The 3D model allows users to see and understand the scale of a city, layout of its buildings, streets, squares and neighbourhoods. It also allows the user to see its energy, water, traffic, healthcare, education, communication and other infrastructure systems,” writes Alexander Parilusyan, vice president of Worldwide Smart Cities at the French multinational software firm Dassault Systèmes.

“It’s like looking into a crystal ball and seeing how the actions of a city’s residents can affect the future of a city.”

Singapore is currently using Dassault Systèmes’s software 3DEXPERIENCECity to build a 3D model of the city. The software uses images and data collected from various public agencies, including geometric, geospatial and topology, as well as real-time data such as demographics, movement or climate.

The goal is to create rich visual models and realistic large-scale simulations of Singapore to digitally explore the impact of urbanization and develop solutions that optimize all aspects of the city. Virtual Singapore is expected to be completed by 2018.

“By virtualizing our cities, we have the ability to create an efficient, sustainable and highly capable reality.”

Image credit: Trey Ratcliff via Flickr

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