Over the past few days, there have been reports from many corners of the world for all-new urban planning approaches. The Chinese government has been encouraged to take a longer-term approach to urban planning or face the strong possibility of future problems. The Environment Minister in New Zealand has launched an overhaul of urban planning and development policies in order to speed the development process, with a focus on livability. The U.S. federal government has launched an initiative for Sustainable Communities that is a collaborative effort by the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to lower transportation costs while protecting the environment. All of these efforts recognize a disconnect between current planning policy and land use planning that needs to factor in future resource demands, and a more efficient form for the city.
Another thread for this reform is the fact that modern cities have almost too many conveniences, which have an impact on human health. Abu Dhabi is taking a look at its built environment with this fact in mind, urging to make walkability again a part of the planning process, in part as a means to combat chronic diseases such as diabetes.
All around the world there’s a realization that the planning and design of our cities are in need of some drastic changes. This impetus speaks to a new approach and a new system for planning. 3D city models factor strongly into this approach as they combine the workflows of both GIS and CAD, and provide a common spatial framework for decision making.