1. Harness the power of the virtual world to see and transform the future

Harness the power of the virtual world to see and transform the future

Urban planners, business leaders, government officials and citizens are on a mission to secure a smart, resilient future for cities.

The need for action is urgent and global. To thrive, communities must attract the workforce of the future, deal with demographic change, and spark economic development. Cities and territories everywhere are reinvigorating themselves to become places of innovation, with dynamic neighborhoods for work and play, that are also environmentally friendly and built to meet tomorrow’s needs.

To keep pace, the world needs to build 1,000 structures per day and invest $3.7 trillion annually in infrastructure. That’s the conclusion drawn by The McKinsey Global Institute Report, ‘Bridging infrastructure gaps: has the world made progress?’  

Such development must take into account population growth and climate change, but also geotechnical conditions, water systems and other environmental constraints. Planners must optimize scarce surface space for human activities while making smarter use of underground space for industrial activities, transportation, energy production, utilities and municipal services. Modern cities and territories must be designed responsibly, operate in harmony with nature, consume less energy and produce less waste.

What’s the most effective way to meet so many complex challenges?

Plan collaboratively

A city is an ecosystem with many players working together: citizens, businesses and government officials; urban planners and infrastructure managers; providers of health care, municipal services, transportation, telecommunications, and security. The list goes on.

The common goal is to help a community realize its aspirations and reduce risk. To succeed, city officials and planners must address the particular technical, spatial and political challenges of urban development while helping other stakeholders understand the implications of domain-specific propositions.

Consensus across the city ecosystem is the key to success. Everyone with a vested interest must be included—from government officials to businesses to citizens. While each party may be committed to the notion of creating a sustainable future, they are also cautious about making decisions until they have all the necessary information.

Unlock big data

Stakeholder inclusion is not the only challenge facing urban planning. The exponential growth of data across a range of networks, systems and platforms has made the job markedly more complex.

Clearly, what every urban planner needs is a virtual world—one that can incorporate diverse sets of data and reveal to all stakeholders what the future could look like.

This ‘digital twin’ enables teams to simulate different aspects of a territory and test a range of planning scenarios. For effective modeling, decision makers need access to a single source of truth. In other words, the model must be accessible on a common platform—namely, the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform from Dassault Systémes.

 

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THE VIRTUAL WAY TO SECURE A RESILIENT URBAN FUTURE

Too often, city planning initiatives lack the ability to capture the city and its processes as a whole and to integrate this knowledge into a comprehensive data model. Subsystems interact constantly. An intelligent, connected, high-fidelity virtual twin of the city on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is the basis for a truly holistic approach.

Manage the entire urban lifecycle

Imagine building an extension of a city. One that consumes less energy than it generates, works seamlessly within the natural ecosystem and offers great experiences to all its inhabitants. Imagine all stakeholders collaboratively planning this city, interactively exploring various scenarios to find the design with maximum spatial quality and functional operability.

Throughout the planning cycles, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform tracks each version of the data model and checks for incongruences as different people optimize the design. In early design stages, integrating a historical record of the natural environment can reveal the potential impact the environment will have on a system or structure, and therefore the practicality of each concept.

When all parties agree on a design, it is developed, analyzed, simulated and optimized in the virtual world before it becomes a reality. Engineers use the platform to explore, interpret the natural environment according to more and more precise measurement and testing systems, and then simulate  it’s interaction with  the structures underpinned and contoured by it .

During physical construction, the model responds to data from the site, enabling project managers to check the plan against field conditions, recalibrate proactively and optimize construction activities.

Once built, the dynamic model continues to serve as a tool to manage the city, to plan and predict maintenance cycles, to communicate with citizens, to inform emergency response systems, and to support its continuous evolution.

In this way, the digital twin contains the entire urban lifecycle.

Case Study: Stakeholder coordination on Virtual Rennes

Rennes Métropole leaders chose the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to implement ‘Virtual Rennes’. Their approach accounts for the complex demands of urban planning by involving all stakeholders. The solution intuitively facilitates data sharing across the ecosystem, which empowers a diverse team to collaboratively simulate, plan and manage the city, and even develop effective public policies.

Watch the video about ‘Virtual Rennes’. 

Virtual Rennes enables stakeholders to work together, remotely share data, simulate evolutions of the city and better observe urban phenomena. A 3DEXPERIENCE® twin of the city is an intelligent digital model based on geometric, topographical, demographic, mobility and health data. It serves as the foundation for all stakeholders to explore, simulate, plan and manage the city in a multi-discipline and collaborative way.

Predict complex interactions

Virtual and augmented reality enables robust ‘what if’ planning. Project contributors have the opportunity to see multiple potential scenarios, test their consequences and implications, and work together to build the best possible future. This ability to capture, unify and intelligently test a range of data from various stakeholders strengthens the power to anticipate interactions.

Moving away from siloed thinking is essential. Smart city projects often focus on a single aspect—like improving traffic flow on a busy road, or reducing emergency call response times. This divided way of working impedes success because it ignores how the complex interactions of factors in urban environments will unintentionally influence one another. (For example, improved traffic flow can enhance citizen safety by enabling emergency services to be onsite faster.) Those who fail to foresee such synergies could miss valuable opportunities.

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Make a positive impact

“Visualizing Smart Cities for a Resilient Future” by global analyst IDC, eloquently explains why digital twins are central to digital transformation. The capability to plan and test in a simulated virtual world on a collaborative digital platform is a game-changer for city planning. A future scenario can be modeled before its deployment in the real world. And what was deployed can continuously inform and improve the model thanks to a real-to-virtual/virtual-to-real feedback loop.

Simulation builds a bridge between concept and reality. It enables urban planners to create something that is immediately understandable and accessible to laypeople with no planning or architectural experience. They can see exactly what is being proposed. Armed with that understanding, they can be meaningfully included in evaluating multiple visions, thereby building essential consensus.

With a collaborative approach to urban transformation, and the capability to integrate, understand, manage and harness complex data, the entire city ecosystem benefits. An integrated virtual environment provides a holistic, operational vision of interrelated systems, including mobility, energy and resource management, built environment and citizen services. And with this vision, a community can vastly improve its ability to make informed decisions with long-term impact.