Using Digital Twins To Design More Sustainable Cities


For Dr. Fabian Dembski, who works at the intersection of architecture, city planning, and computational science, cities are more than just the places we live. They function like living organisms, growing and changing over time. From this perspective, decisions made in city planning can either improve or degrade the health of urban spaces.

As cities have gotten larger and more complicated, and technology has opened up new ways of observing and simulating cities’ dynamic processes, researchers have tried to find new ways to make city planning decisions more efficient, equitable, and inclusive.

Much like CT scans gave medical professionals new ways of observing the human body, advanced digital approaches involving data-driven modelling and visualization now offer researchers new ways of understanding how cities function and predicting how changes in their design could affect life there.

Together with investigators at the Fraunhofer Institute, the University of Stuttgart, and Kommunikationsbüro Ulmer, Dembski and other researchers at the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) have been developing new applications of 3D visualization to support urban planning.

Specifically, the team has been adapting the concept of the “digital twin” for cities, using high-performance computing (HPC) technologies for analyzing, integrating, and visualizing data describing urban phenomena in order to simulate the complex, dynamic processes that are important to consider in urban planning.

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