High-tech remedy for urban planning headaches

Jun 08, 2011

Big cities everywhere grapple with similar issues: what is the best way to reduce urban sprawl, revitalize aging neighbourhoods and create more sustainable communities? Urban problems are complex for planners and often frustrating for residents who may feel their suggestions aren’t being heard.

The answer could be an interactive, web-based platform to simplify the process and provide a better way to visualize various scenarios and predict the outcomes of decisions. Engineers and urban design experts at the University of Calgary are leading the development of Canada’s first such system, a research initiative called PlanYourPlace.

“We intend to develop a simple, interactive planning tool that can be used at regional levels all the way down to local neighbourhood levels,” says Dr. Andrew Hunter, project manager and geomatics engineering professor at the Schulich School of Engineering. “This is possible because of recent advancements in technology such as geographic information systems (GIS) and cyber infrastructure.”

The PlanYourPlace project involves software development to enable the visualization of proposals and sketching of alternatives. The package will include geospatial components such as imaging and mapping along with algorithms to calculate the outcomes of various scenarios. The end result will be a planning tool that can be used anywhere.
“Our goal is to improve planning practices and promote interactive and participatory approaches that result in economic, environmental, social and cultural development that is sustainable,” explains project co-manager Dr. Bev Sandalack, research leader of the Faculty of Environmental Design Urban Lab at the University of Calgary. “The system will enable users to understand more clearly the implications and benefits of various planning and development objectives and to participate in meaningful ways.”

While the system will be applicable anywhere, the researchers will focus on a specific area of Calgary in order to develop the various components. Their test bed is a collection of that were constructed during the building boom of the 1950s through the 1970s. They form Calgary’s “middle ring” and are poised to undergo redevelopment.

Explore further: Desktop device to make key gun part goes on sale in US

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mapping food deserts

Mar 03, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Maps are great for showing where things are. They’re also good for showing where things aren’t.

The kids are alright

May 26, 2011

Children should be seen and not heard... who says? A Philosophy academic at The University of Nottingham is challenging the adage by teaching primary school children to argue properly.

Dutch support for disaster zone phone software

Apr 13, 2011

Software developed by Flinders University’s Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen which enables mobile phones to communicate during a disaster will be freely available to the public by the end of the year thanks to the support of ...

Making every drop count

Jan 26, 2011

A sustainable “rain garden” designed to capture every drop of water that falls onto it has been unveiled as one of the leading attractions at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show.

Recommended for you

Desktop device to make key gun part goes on sale in US

10 hours ago

The creator of the world's first 3D plastic handgun unveiled Wednesday his latest invention: a pre-programmed milling machine that enables anyone to easily make the core component of a semi-automatic rifle.

Minimally invasive surgery with hydraulic assistance

17 hours ago

Endoscopic surgery requires great manual dexterity on the part of the operating surgeon. Future endoscopic instruments equipped with a hydraulic control system will provide added support during minimally ...

Analyzing gold and steel – rapidly and precisely

18 hours ago

Optical emission spectrometers are widely used in the steel industry but the instruments currently employed are relatively large and bulky. A novel sensor makes it possible to significantly reduce their size ...

More efficient transformer materials

19 hours ago

Almost every electronic device contains a transformer. An important material used in their construction is electrical steel. Researchers have found a way to improve the performance of electrical steel and ...

Sensor network tracks down illegal bomb-making

19 hours ago

Terrorists can manufacture bombs with relative ease, few aids and easily accessible materials such as synthetic fertilizer. Not always do security forces succeed in preventing the attacks and tracking down ...

Miniature camera may reduce accidents

19 hours ago

Measuring only a few cubic millimeters, a new type of camera module might soon be integrated into future driver assistance systems to help car drivers facing critical situations. The little gadget can be ...

User comments : 0