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.
Land use in cities can now be modeled by computer software that allows researchers to predict details such as energy use on individual plots of land. © Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock
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 cities1. 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.
A city is a complex system, and complex systems evolve as a result of highly interacting units driven by a simple mechanism, Monterola notes. “Understanding the underlying simplicity in the growth of cities will allow us to model the emergence of city dynamics more accurately and, more importantly, learn to shape a city’s growth based on our desired outcomes.”
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 lower the entropy number, the more densely clustered a given sector is,” explains Monterola. “In the cities studied, industrial areas were generally clustered and distinct from residential and business zones. There is ‘safety in numbers’, but only if the resources required by [a] specific sector are not compromised.”
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.
“The good visual and statistical resemblance of our simulations to actual cities hints at the robustness of this work so far,” says Monterola. “We will add more details, including schools, churches and so on, with the aim of capturing the day-to-day routines of people in a city.” Monterola believes that this groundwork will yield predictive models of different urban activities resulting from easily measured parameters that will be useful as guides for planners.
The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of High Performance Computing
New Generation of Cleaning Tools for CSP Plants Reduces the Water Consumption
09.11.2018 | Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum
memory-steel - a new material for the strengthening of buildings
23.10.2018 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy