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The use of 3D digital visualisation to create smarter cities

How can 3D visualisation technology help authorities to plan and asset manage their cities? VU.CITY, the smart city platform, reveals how it’s being used across the public and private sectors to achieve their aims.

Across the globe we are seeing the rise of smart cities – metropolises that are meticulously planned to meet the demands of a modern, forward thinking, digitally aware populace. At the forefront of this is VU.CITY, which maps major cities in 3D across the globe to the highest detailed accuracy, including the visualisation of data to help plan and create the best possible city for all.

Planning the cities of the future

VU.CITY has already mapped 20 cities across the UK & Ireland, as well as five internationally, to an accuracy of 15cm.  From micro details such as the exact canopy width and height of London’s 10 million trees, to macro information on sun paths and overshadowing, modelled cities are constantly updated with new, highly accurate data-sets. The Platform collates data from multiple sources in a single place, enabling a clearer and cohesive understanding that significantly speeds up planning decisions and the design development process. In the built environment industry that is traditionally linear and analogue, impacts can now be digitally visualised to de-risk projects and assessed early in collaboration with key stakeholders and decision-makers. We are delighted to have joined the City Possible community and look forward to helping the industry unlock this potential added value available to cities all over the world.

Collaborating to solve urban problems

3D modelling of cities frees you up to access critical data and understand real-time impacts. This is important to so many local authorities, businesses and institutions, allowing them to solve urban issues in a collaborative and data driven way.

Implementing this level of technology has the potential to help solve one of the biggest challenges of our time – and one that countries all over the world are facing – the economic impact of Covid-19. Using the right digital tools, however, can provide detailed analysis and insights to tackle a range of urban issues such as the optimum levels of housing and mobility in a post pandemic world, the community and green space we want, and how we can future proof our town centres to deliver green and citizen-centric living.

Elsewhere, information on citizen expenditure and movement data will allow key industries like retail, culture and travel to assist cities in their all-important Covid comeback. Longer-term, large and influential data-sets will provide the answer to climate change challenges such as the net-zero carbon city, visualising at a city-scale how transport, emission and air quality targets can be met.

City-wide asset management

VU.CITY can also be used to asset manage property portfolios and estates in a truly holistic manner. Working alongside university campuses, innovation districts and large-scale business parks, this includes anything from estate-wide visualisation of property and landscaping assets, through the energy performance of buildings, transport and pedestrian movement, to wayfinding.

Asset managing the estates of the future means performing at the very cusp of the newest technology and ideas, including solar PV rooftops and 5G planning. The entirety of an estate can now be optimised to drive efficiency and growth, including granular details such as the control of cleaning regimes through using iot sensors to permit entry to the building, plus large-scale projects like implementing electric vehicle grid infrastructure. Such technology is the golden key to enabling the potential of estates and cities worldwide, allowing them to meet the climate emergency agenda and net-zero targets.

In data we trust

Increased government sharing of data sets that will inform and influence stakeholders is at the absolute epicentre of the smart cities agenda. Smart city planning is best achieved when authorities, the private sector and citizens work together to share information, enabling transparency, growth and the recovery of the economy. VU.CITY unparalleled expertise highlights the benefits of open-data models and data sharing and is pleased to work with partners such as Mastercard, city policy makers and planners, architects and developers and all those who are collaborating to shape places and spaces.

Harnessing data in the right way and taking it to its full potential will be transformative for the built environment industry. VU.CITY is leading this by enabling technical information to be presented visually in an agnostic manner to all audiences, democratising what was previously complex, inaccessible information, leading to greater collaboration, transparency and trust between those proposing change and impacted by it.

VU.CITY is at the forefront of driving PlanTech solutions in the UK, and we have great ambitions to scale the platform to other global cities – an approach that is backed by the government as it looks to modernise and speed up the country’s planning system in order to build back better, and indeed quicker. On a wider scale, we continue to work closely with global corporations responsible for the asset management of cities and crucial infrastructure, from telecoms to power companies.

To VU.CITY, smart cities represent an ‘improved citizen-centric urban environment.’ If we continue to improve the everyday experience for people in the places they call home, we can create the best possible city for all.


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