A Tangible Interface for Collaborative Urban Design for Energy Efficiency, Daylighting, and Walkability

07 Sep 2015

An increasingly urbanizing human population presents new challenges for urban planners and designers. While the field of urban design tools is expanding, urban development scenarios require the input of multiple stakeholders, each with different outlooks, expertise, requirements, and preconceptions, and good urban design requires communication and compromise as much as it requires effective use of tools. The best tools will facilitate this communication while remaining evidence-based, allowing diverse planning teams to develop high quality, healthy, sustainable urban proposals. Presented in this paper is a new such tool, implemented as a tangible user interface, that allows varied stakeholders to quickly collaborate on creation and exploration of new urban design solutions. The tool provides performance feedback for a neighborhood’s operational energy costs, daylight availability, and walkability. Fast interaction is attained through a novel precalculation method that is also presented. Details of the tool’s deployment as part of a case study taking place at the planning commission of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, are given.

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