Computational Urban Planning & Design Tools // MaCT01 2020/21 Seminar Results

The increasing challenges of planning and designing cities in the era of big data have urged the practices of urban planning and design to rethink many of the traditions and norms upon which they have been operating over the past decades. To facilitate urban technologists in understanding the implications and impacts of urban planning in response to global challenges, new tools, based on big data and real-time information are needed.

It’s time to rethink how the combination of big data & computational design can help us not only explore, analyze and evaluate cities but also generate multiple design solutions for the urban environment based on quantitative and qualitative data.

For this reason each year the students of the Master in City & Technology are introduced to a large variety of technological tools and software that are imperative for the multi-scalar representation and understanding of the urban environment. During the program, students are trained on the latest tools for computational design, urban simulations, and spatial data science by attending seminars on programming, dynamic mapping, big data analytics and visualization, as well as parametric urban design.

Here are some of the results from the Computational Urban Design II seminar, conducted during the second term of the Master in City & Technology and led by Eugenio Bettucchi, Iacopo Neri and Alex Mademochorits.

The seminar focused on the creation of tools on Grasshopper that visualize, calculate and simulate urban planning and design changes in different sites located in Barcelona. This course is the second part of a 3-course-long investigation on how the combination of big data & computational design can help us not only explore, analyze and evaluate cities but also generate multiple design solutions for the urban environment. To do so the students have divided into 6 groups and selected one site in Barcelona and one topic per team.

The selected topics that the tools focused on were:

1) URBAN FARMING

Food for Future aims to develop a generative model enabling adaptive reuse of both underground car parks and urban empty lots. Considering that underground car parks are becoming future cemeteries of cars and are not subject to any planning processes today, it is one of the main objectives of the project to re-add value to these areas. Together with surface car parks they are considerably large areas for agricultural food production. In addition to the re-use of future vacant lands, FFF anticipates providing transition between underground and surface with the help of proposed open holes. They are also expected to provide a consistency of street section and make underground visible.

Full documentation here:
http://www.iaacblog.com/programs/food-for-future/

Project Credits:
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia – Master in City & Technology 2020/21
Course: Computational Urban Design II
Project Name: Food For Future
Faculty: Eugenio Bettucchi, Iacopo Neri, Alex Mademochoritis
Students: Sinay Coskun, Laura Guimarães, Diana Roussi and Adriana Aguirre Such

2) FLOATING CITIES

Can we simulate the distribution of floating platforms to dynamically plan and design new places for living, working and playing in the city?

This simulator can generate urban plans which distribute floating platforms based on the surrounding context of a selected site. The moving floaters reconfigure based on set conditions which the user can move based on residential density, public space location, connectivity between the platforms or specific function allocation.

You can see the full documentation here:
http://www.iaacblog.com/programs/resilient-waterfront/

Project Credits:
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia – Master in City & Technology 2020/21
Course: Computational Urban Design II
Project Name: Resilient Waterfront
Faculty: Eugenio Bettucchi, Iacopo Neri, Alex Mademochoritis
Students: Aishah Nadh Ha Naseer, Arina Novikova, Marta Galdys, Sridhar Subramani

3) WASTE PRODUCTION AND RE-USE

Can we turn organic waste into value?

The WasteSpaces simulator is using computational design methods to develop a Visualization and Simulation tool of organic waste management directed to help city planners make more informed decisions about the flow of waste in cities. The concept is developed on a circular economy model linking the amount of organic waste to public spaces and food production.

Full documentation here:
http://www.iaacblog.com/programs/wastespaces-computational-urban-design-ii/

Credits:
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia – Master in City & Technology 2020/21
Course: Computational Urban Design II
Project Name: WasteScapes
Faculty: Eugenio Bettucchi, Iacopo Neri, Alex Mademochoritis
Students: Hebah Qatanany, Juan Pablo Pintado Miranda, Matteo Murat, Simone Grasso and Stephania-Maria Kousoula

4) PUBLIC SPACE AND LEISURE

If time is important for leisure activities, it is also relevant to the availability of diverse and abundant spaces for everybody. The provision of public space represents the means of the Public Administration to provide the opportunity to everybody. The created tool “[email protected]” aims to simulate a different distribution of spaces in finding the balance between public spaces and built areas, residential and office spaces both at the ground floor and the rooftops in the northern part of the [email protected]

Full documentation here:
http://www.iaacblog.com/programs/ocios-22-leisure-open-spaces-reclamation/

Credits:
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia – Master in City & Technology 2020/21
Course: Computational Urban Design II
Project Name: [email protected] Leisure Open Spaces Reclamation
Faculty: Eugenio Bettucchi, Iacopo Neri, Alex Mademochoritis
Students: Riccardo Palazzolo Henkes, Kshama Patil, Dongxuan Zhu, and Sasan Bahrami

5) SUSTAINABLE HOUSING

The Sustainable Housing Intelligent Tool aims to help urban designers and decision makers to develop walkable, energy efficient and social neighborhoods. This is achieved through a series of iterative computational generation processes which explore the best land-use and building geometry solutions for optimal environmental performance and livability.

Full documentation here:
http://www.iaacblog.com/programs/sustainable-housing-computational-urban-design-ii-mact2021/

Project Credits:
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia – Master in City & Technology 2020/21
Course: Computational Urban Design II
Project Name: Sustainable Housing Intelligent Tool
Faculty: Eugenio Bettucchi, Iacopo Neri, Alex Mademochoritis
Students: Alvaro Cerezo, Inigo Esteban, Leyla Saadi, Tugdual Sarazin

6) SHARED HABITATS AND BIODIVERSITY

Reversing the degradation or destruction of habitats is linked to some of the most important objectives in the fight against climate change, as well as the prevention of collapsing food chains. Addressing these issues within urban space is a contested, complex, yet important area of study. This work explores the creation of a set of tools that allow decision-makers and designers to integrate ecological indexes as design variables. Specifically, this work uses the Urban Biodiversity Index as a tool for measuring impact. Through generative design procedures, the tools in this work allow its user to plan and design ecological corridors within the urban fabric.

Full documentation here:
http://www.iaacblog.com/programs/shared-habitat/

Credits:
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia – Master in City & Technology 2020/21
Course: Computational Urban Design II
Project Name: Shared Habitat
Faculty: Eugenio Bettucchi, Iacopo Neri, Alex Mademochoritis
Students: Kevin Aragón, Miguel Tinoco, Mario Gonzalez, Iván Reyes

Written by
Alex Mademochoritis
Urban Technologist
Coordinator of the Master in City & Technology

Are you interested in developing projects like this? Don’t miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study the future of cities in Barcelona, the birthplace of urbanism!

Applications 2021/22 are open until the 31st of May!
Find out more about the Master in City & Technology:
www.iaac.net/mact