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PDF papers
id cf2011_p152
authors Plume, Jim; Mitchell John
year 2011
title An Urban Information Framework to support Planning, Decision-Making & Urban Design
source Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures 2011 [Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures / ISBN 9782874561429] Liege (Belgium) 4-8 July 2011, pp. 653-668.
summary This paper reports on a 2-year research project undertaken in collaboration with a state planning authority, a major city municipal council and a government-owned development organisation. The project has involved the design of an urban information model framework with the aim of supporting more informed urban planning by addressing the intersection where an individual building interfaces with its urban context. This adopted approach enables new techniques that better model the city and its processes in a transparent and accessible manner. The primary driver for this project was the challenge provided by the essential incompatibility between legacy GIS (geographic information system) datasets and BIM (building information model) representations of the built form. When dealing with urban scale information, GIS technologies use an overlay mapping metaphor linked to traditional relational database technologies to identify features or regions in the urban landscape and attach attribute data to those in order to permit analysis and informed assessment of the urban form. On the other hand, BIM technologies adopt an object-oriented approach to model the full three-dimensional characteristics of built forms in a way that captures both the geometric and physical attributes of the parts that make up a building, as well as the relationships between those parts and the spaces defined by the building fabric. The latter provides a far richer semantic structure to the data, while the former provides robust tools for a wide range of urban analyses. Both approaches are widely recognised as serving well the needs of their respective domains, but there is a widespread belief that we need to reconcile the two disparate approaches to modelling the real world. This project has sought to address that disjunction between modelling approaches. The UrbanIT project concentrated on two aspects of this issue: the development of a framework for managing information at the precinct and building level through the adoption of an object-oriented database technology that provides a platform for information management; and an exploration of ontology tools and how they can be adopted to facilitate semantic information queries across diverse data sources based on a common urban ontology. This paper is focussed on the first of those two agendas, examining the context of the work, the challenges addressed by the framework and the structure of our solution. A prototype implementation of the framework is illustrated through an urban precinct currently undergoing renewal and redevelopment, finishing with a discussion of future work that comes out of this project. Our approach to the implementation of the urban information model has been to propose extensions to ISO/PAS 16739, the international standard for modelling building information that is commonly known as IFC (Industry Foundation Classes). Our reason for adopting that approach is primarily our deep commitment to the adoption of open standards to facilitate the exchange of information across the built environment professions, but also because IFC is based on a robust object schema that can be used to construct a internet-accessible database able, theoretically, to handle the vast quantity of data needed to model urban-scale information. The database solution comes with well-established protocols for handling data security, integrity, versioning and transaction processing or querying. A central issue addressed through this work is concerned with level of detail. An urban information model permits a very precise and detailed representation of an urban precinct, while many planning analyses rely on simplified object representations. We will show that a key benefit of our approach is the ability to simultaneously maintain multiple representations of objects, making use of the concept of model view definitions to manage diverse analysis needs.
keywords urban information modelling, geographic information systems, city models, interoperability, urban planning, open standards
series CAAD Futures
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