Urban Integration 2014

Researchers from the Geospatial Engineering group (Alistair Ford, Daniel Caparos-Midwood, Shaun Brown) recently attended the Urban Integration conference in Sheffield which marked the end of the EU Cost Action on Integrated Assessment of Climate Change (link). This cost action was led by Prof Richard Dawson, also of the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, and aimed at bringing together practicioners from across Europe who are looking at the problems facing cities in an integrated way.

A number of topics were addressed across a broad range of fields, but papers of particular interest to geospatial engineers included Jonathan Kohler (Fraunhofer Institute) on why we need urban models and what characteristics they possess (e.g. simplifying reality, explicitly stating theories and assumptions, simulating future scenarios), Christoph Reinhart from the MIT Sustainable Design Lab on the combination of Building Performance Simulation with other urban models in the Urban Modelling Interface (urbanmodeling.net) and Reinhard Koning from ETH Zurich (check!) who presented his simulation integration platform which allows the combination of model outputs to form an urban planning support system using big data to understand the urban system and find high suitability areas for sustainable development.

Jonathan Kohler at UI.
Jonathan Kohler at UI.

Other interesting research projects included the iGuess project (link) from the Henri Tudor Institute in Luxembourg, presented by Ulrich Leopold, which is an open-source platform in a database-driven web-based modular framework for performing urban simulations and Vincent Viguie from CIRED in Paris who showed his model of urban growth, NEDUM, linked to the Town Energy Balance (TEB) urban climate model (link) to assess heatwaves and associated health effects (and that even demolishing 10% of Paris’ buildings to create parks will have little effect on urban temperatures!

The conference was a great success and a fitting end to the COST Action.

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