Applied Urban Modelling 2012


CASA researchers were out in force at the AUM 2012 meeting in Cambridge last week, organised by the urban modelling group at the Martin Centre. It was an enjoyable meeting, with a good range of participants from both academia and built-environment practitioners. I’ll discuss some highlights from my own GIS and visualisation perspective.

It was great to see Paul Waddell present UrbanSim, which is a well established and popular open source platform for land use transport modelling based on microsimulation. Current improvements include adding 3D visualisation capabilities and pedestrian accessibility. Paul also had a demo of an impressive new urban design tool using a procedural architecture approach similar to CityEngine. Colleagues at CASA Camilo Vargas and Melanie Bosredon are developing an UrbanSim model of London, so we will be returning to this software in future posts.

Andres Sevtsuk from City Form Lab MIT¬†presented on modelling retail locations from a street network Space Syntax type approach. His team have developed an Urban Network Analysis tool for performing measures like Betweeness and Closeness¬†within ArcGIS. This tool is also open source and it’s great to see so much interesting software going down this free to access route.

My favourite presentation was from past and present CASA researchers Kiril Stanilov and Paolo Mascucci. Kiril has painstakingly been putting together an incredibly detailed vector dataset of the growth of London’s road network from the 1700’s to the present day. The time-lapse sequence of the network growing looked spectacular, highlighting the path dependence from historical forms and the different sequences of growth in London’s history. There’s fantastic potential in this dataset for improving modelling and understanding of how cities grow and develop. A flavour of the data can be seen in the below poster image: