Purdue Climate Change Research Center

STRONG Cities - Simulation Technologies for the Realization of Next Generation Cities

September 19, 2012

The research objective of this proposal is to create a computational framework for producing next-generation new city designs or modifications to existing cities-Simulation Technologies for the Realization of Next Generation Cities or STRONG Cities. The project will enable designing 3D models of cities that are resilient (and "stronger") to its surrounding environment and more livable for its inhabitants. While multiple types of simulations can be performed, it is hard to encapsulate the subtle interdependencies between different parameters of the diverse urban modeling and simulation processes (e.g., weather, socio-economic, energy, and environmental simulations). This framework couples the traditional forward modeling process with an inverse urban modeling process that optimizes the input parameters to satisfy user-specified indicators. Effectively, the approach closes the loop between forward and inverse modeling and enabling the user to be much more efficient in generating a 3D model that satisfies their many requirements. Both forward and inverse modeling strategies can be applied during an exploration session for either local or global model modifications. The expected deliverables include software infrastructure, simulation algorithms, a re-parameterization method, and exemplary datasets and results for multiple cities. Furthermore, the project will provide several innovative tools for social and public engagement, for urban planning, and for indicator visualization. In particular, the project addresses designing, simulating, and visualizing future cities in order to evaluate building smart codes, sustainability plans, future architectural designs, alternative transportation investments, land use regulations, and environmental protection policies. It will build upon ongoing funded education projects, mainly through NSF and NOAA, to provide educational material to middle and high school students as well as university level students. Moreover, the project is also very well suited to promote diversity since both PIs are diversity award winners and already have a diverse research workforce.

This research project is very timely. Mankind is now in the first century of the urban civilization. Since 2008, and for the first time in history, more than half of the world population lives in cities. Over the next 30 years the growth of the population and amount of urbanization will only increase. Hence, properly managing the growth of existing cities and the design of future cities is a vital issue that will only continue to increase in importance during the twenty-first century. The STRONG Cities project will provide the first computational system to dynamically integrate urban land use planning and several high impact simulations thus enabling a next generation of weather-aware, socio-economically planned, drought-ready, and greening conscious cities. The project addresses what has been called the "ultimate design challenge": urbanization. This objective is of significant interest to a wide variety of stakeholders worldwide and spanning several engineering and science fields (e.g., civil engineering, agricultural engineering, hydrology, and earth and atmospheric sciences) as well as urban planners, metropolitan planning organizations, and the hazard mitigation community.

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