Visualizations could enable more efficient urban planning
What if ...?
Urban planning in the era of smart cities is about process acceleration, digital visualization, and the involvement of all stakeholders. Participative planning is the name of this new game. The essential ingredient is a consistent, standardized pool of data and a common understanding of the aims and the prerequisites for implementation. Fraunhofer IGD develops systems for digital urban planning. After pilot phases and testing under real-world conditions, two of them are now ready for roll-out.
Breathing new life into historical town centers
Particularly in more rural regions, the town centers are often decaying—through falling population numbers, demographic change, and the development of new homes and industrial parks on their periphery. To rejuvenate these historical downtown areas and to improve their infrastructure, urban planners must develop effective concepts. Within the scope of AktVis, a project funded by the Federal German Ministry of Education and Research, Fraunhofer IGD developed an interactive 3D web application that invites architects, politicians, property owners and residents to exchange and discuss ideas. The WebGIS application unifies the many and varying sources of geoinformation relevant to the local area, overcoming the problems associated with differing data formats and types, and eliminating the need for the laborious conversion that often plagues conventional systems. The coherent, standardized pool of data can be employed to create highly realistic views of buildings and streetscapes. All stakeholders then share a “single version of the truth.” Integrated functions for checking economic efficiency and compliance with building regulations make it possible for the feasibility of ideas aired at workshops and stakeholder meetings to be immediately verified.
Overcoming misgivings about new technologies
Virtual reality and augmented reality can be put to good use to extend and enhance existing methods of stakeholder participation. To overcome potential misgivings or inhibitions associated with the new technologies, a group of researchers in Austria, with contributions from Fraunhofer Austria, have produced a new guide for local authorities. It offers practical advice on establishing the basis for the deployment of VR or AR applications and offers realistic estimates for the expense, supporting the implementation of innovative methods of participative planning. The guide was created as part of the VR Planning—We’re Planning project, supported financially by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology within the Mobility of the Future program. The VR Planning project developed simulation software for concrete planning activities. The fully working VR and AR application prototypes allow street and building proposals to be experienced intuitively by means of a VR headset or a tablet, allowing a better understanding of the 3D environment—which is the essential basis for successful participative planning. It is possible to conduct surveys within the application to gain direct user feedback on the virtual plans.
A digital city is more than just a concept. A digital city is the smart home for its residents, the interaction between man and technology, the acceleration of the ordinary and the deceleration of everyday life.
Our core competence visual computing helps optimize infrastructures such as supply networks. It provides for sustainable development in urban settings, supports the energy turnaround, and drives intelligent living.