Autodesk just announced Vancouver, BC, Canada as the third city in its Digital City initiative. Other participants in the program are Salzburg, Austria and Incheon, South Korea. Each city has a strong vision for what they’d like to accomplish, and their objectives are unique to their location and identities.
Vancouver is in a unique showcase position with the 2010 winter olympics coming to their backyard. The city has established a strong reputation for sustainable planning, and their GIS efforts have been at the forefront with an early and strong Web mapping presence and a long-term utilization of Oracle spatial technology. This strong IT infrastructure puts this city at an advantage to implement the 3D city project quickly, and with high impact.
Vancouver is a multicultural city with many unique neighborhoods and a strong immigrant population with more than half of the population that don’t speak English as a native language. Dan Campbell, Graphics Planner, City of Vancouver has shared a vision for a more engaging planning tool that goes beyond the dumb and cumbersome models that most cities have to date. Campbell sees the model evolving to incorporate public input and transparency to communicate the impact of different planning scenarios. He also envisions a model that can ingest design drawings to cut down on the amount of paper involved in the design process, eliminating the current process that requires 16 paper copies of each plan.
Campbell also mentions that 2D is more complex than 3D for the public to understand. 3D models need very little translation and explanation for the public to understand, and there’s very little chance for confusion and different interpretation when plans are displayed in 3D. An intelligent and attractive 3D model shows the populace how planned changes will feel, capturing the emotional aspects of the city.
The project in Incheon, South Korea is to stand up a high-tech Songdo City from scratch on reclaimed brown-field land. This pilot project will provide Autodesk with the chance to integrate the digital city concept for a urban environment that is being built from scratch with input in design, construction and operations.
Songdo City plans to fully integrate the digital lifestyle, with an integrated sensor web, secure high-speed Internet communications, imagery, television, cable and intelligent scheduling and transportation. The city envisions the ability to change citizen behavior by having ubiquitous information as a critical part of sustainability planning. The themes of the city are to make life more convenient, clean and safe. The digital city model is seen as a dashboard to for city management with real-time information and integrated analysis. The city envisions that the digital city model will become a clearinghouse for proposed construction as well as asset maintenance, civil engineering and public works.
A City with Deep Time
Salzburg, Austria is very unique among these three, given its rich history and cultural contributions that go back more than 2,000 years. This multi-layered city wants to incorporate an aspect of time within their 3D city model. Given their long history, planning in this city focuses more on redevelopment than new development, and the aim is to preserve a flavor of the past with each new addition.
The Salzburg city model will come together with a unique partnership between the city and Salzburg University’s Center of Geoinformation. This collaborative approach aims to help students benefit from cutting-edge technology application while providing the city with tools for sustainable planning.
The Autodesk Digital Cities initiative is an ambitious effort to increase the scope and applicability of large-scale digital models. Autodesk has the tools at their disposal to help each of these cities realize their vision of better city management with a more informed population. I look forward to following the progression of each of these projects.