The Digital Twin

At the eCAADe+SIGRaDi 2019 conference in Porto we presented the Digital Twin of a German small town – a prototype for future evidence-based planning and urban design including collaborative and participatory processes.

For the built environment’s transformation we are confronted with complex dynamics connected to economic, ecologic and demographic change (Czerkauer-Yamu et al., 2013; Yamu, 2014). In general, cities are complex systems being a “heterogeneous mosaic” of a variety of cultures and functions, characterised by diverging perceptions and interests (ibid). The juxtaposed perceptions and interests in relation to ongoing spatial processes of change create a particularly complex situation. Thus, for planning processes we are in need of approaches that are able to cope not only with the urban complexity but also allow for participatory processes to empower citizens. This paper presents the approach of using Digital Twins in virtual reality (VR) for civic engagement in urban planning, enriched with quantitative and qualitative empirical data as one promising approach to tackle not only the complexity of cities but also involve citizens in the planning process.

[…] Our research method is empirical and computational using a mixed method approach. In this research, we developed a Digital Twin and visualised it in VR for supporting participative and collaborative planning processes. The Digital Twin is set up as follows: (i) a morphological model (built environment); (ii) a street network model using the theory and method of space syntax; (iii) an urban mobility simulation with SUMO and wind flow simulation with OpenFOAM; (iv) qualitative and quantitative data using Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) with a mobile application “Reallabor Tracker” developed for this purpose; and (v) a pollution simulation using an empirical data set from a sensor network (Dembski et al., 2019). For the Digital Twin, we used the collaborative visualisation and simulation environment COVISE, an extensible distributed software environment to integrate simulations, post processing and visualisation functionalities in a seamless manner.

Extract from the conference paper “The Digital Twin”. Find the full publication here (open access):

Fabian Dembski and Uwe Wössner: High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart
Mike Letzgus: Fraunhofer IAO Institute 

Dembski, F., Wössner, U., Letzgus, M. (2019): The Digital Twin – Tackling Urban Challenges with Models, Spatial Analysis and Numerical Simulations in Immersive Virtual Environments. In: Sousa, JP, Xavier, JP and Castro Henriques, G (eds.), Architecture in the Age of the 4th Industrial Revolution – Proceedings of the 37th eCAADe and 23rd SIGraDi Conference – Volume 1, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal, 11-13 September 2019, pp. 795-804

eCAADe (Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe) / SIGraDi (The Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics)

Space Syntax Analysis in 3D-VR at HLRS in the CAVE

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