Computer Model Determines City Dynamics to Aid Sustainability Planning
The sustainability of cities is a challenge facing planners across the globe. The numerous complex and wide-ranging interactions between energy consumption, water use, transportation and population dynamics make cities intrinsically complicated systems to study.
Christopher Monterola and co-workers at A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing, Singapore, have created a computer modeling system capable of characterizing land-use patterns in different cities. This software provides planners with the ability to define the features of a particular city, as well as compare and contrast these features with those of other cities.
The team worked with high-resolution image data for Singapore and eight North American cities. They painstakingly categorized land-use into business, residential or industrial sectors, pixel by pixel, for each city. To analyze the dispersion and aggregation of land use types across the urban space, the computer model used two parameters—’spatial entropy’, which describes how a given sector is spread across space, and an ‘index of dissimilarity’, which measures the relative mixing of sectors.
The index of dissimilarity helped to define the efficiency of different urban factors, especially transportation and energy consumption. In follow-up work, the team successfully modeled the emergence of land use in cities, the surface temperatures for individual plots of land and even accurately estimated ridership—how many people are using public transport at any one time.Read more at: www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0129183112500921?journalCode=ijmpc